Indiana’s smoking rate remains among highest in the nation

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From the Indiana Cancer Consortium:

Lung cancer is the leading cause of preventable and premature cancer deaths in the United States and Indiana.

During 2012, approximately 4,674 Indiana residents were diagnosed with lung cancer, and 3,958 died as a result of the disease.

Smoking accounts for at least 30 percent of all cancer deaths. The number of adults in Indiana who smoke (21.9 percent) has decreased significantly since 2011; however, Indiana’s smoking rate remains among the highest in the nation. Currently, over 1 million adults in Indiana still smoke.

According to the recently released Surgeon General’s report, The Health Consequences of Smoking – 50 Years of Progress, smoking rates have decreased significantly since 1964. In addition, even though today’s smokers smoke fewer cigarettes than those 50 years ago, they are at higher risk of developing lung cancer. Changes in the design and composition of cigarettes since the 1950s have increased the risk of adenocarcinoma of the lung, the most common type of lung cancer.

Those exposed to secondhand smoke are also at increased risk for lung cancer. In an effort to reduce secondhand smoke exposure, a smokefree air law was passed in 2012. The law covers nearly all public places in the state, including restaurants and most workplaces. Additionally, 18 communities have passed local ordinances that are stronger than the state law and cover all workplaces, restaurants and bars. Visit http://www.in.gov/isdh/tpc/2333.htm for more information on Indiana’s state and local smoke free air policies.

Smoking is also responsible for other chronic diseases, including stroke, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. The impact of smoking is devastating, both for those affected by disease, and their loved ones. To illustrate this point, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention launched the Tips from Former Smokers public service campaign, which profiles real people, not actors, who are living with serious, long-term health effects, from smoking and secondhand smoke exposure. Indiana residents can receive free help in quitting tobacco by calling 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) or visiting www.QuitNowIndiana.com.

As part of National Lung Cancer Awareness Month, the Indiana Cancer Consortium (ICC) District 9 Cancer Control Coalition is hosting a Lung Health Summit on Thursday, Nov. 6, to increase awareness of the district’s lung cancer burden. The event will be held at Clark Memorial Hospital (1220 Missouri Ave., Jeffersonville, IN, 47130) and will begin at 9 a.m. The ICC invites all public health professionals, local tobacco control coordinators, and health care providers (nurses, patient navigators, health system administrative staff, etc.) to participate in this summit.

For more information on the Lung Health Summit, what you can do to help reduce Indiana’s lung cancer burden, or for information on how you can get involved with regional cancer control efforts, contact Whitney Gray at whitney@indianacancer.org.

To learn more about lung cancer, including information on signs and symptoms, benefits of early detection and behaviors that can help decrease risk, please refer to the Indiana Cancer Facts and Figures 2012 report, a comprehensive report on the burden of cancer in Indiana, by visiting www.indianacancer.org.

Organizations and individuals interested in reducing the burden of cancer in Indiana should consider participating in the ICC. The ICC is a statewide network of partnerships whose mission is to reduce the cancer burden in Indiana through the development, implementation and evaluation of a comprehensive plan that address cancer across the continuum from prevention through palliation. Participation in the ICC is open to all organizations and individuals interested in cancer prevention, early detection, treatment, quality of life, data collection and advocacy regarding cancer-related issues. To become a member of the ICC and find additional information about cancer prevention and control in Indiana, please visit the ICC’s website at www.indianacancer.org.