DHHS and Breathe NH Target 4th Leading Cause of Death in NH

Concord, NH – The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Tobacco Prevention and Control Program (TPCP) along with Breathe New Hampshire are offering the State’s first ever free health screening in an effort to target the 4th leading cause of death in New Hampshire and the United States; Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). The free, non-invasive health screening for COPD is being given on Sunday, November 16, 2008 in Manchester.


The TPCP and Breathe NH, a statewide non-profit organization, have teamed up with the national COPD Foundation to conduct this screening program. This serious lung condition often develops in people over age 40, who have risk factors such as being a smoker, or a former smoker, or who currently work around chemicals or have in the past. COPD affects one in four people over the age of 45 and kills one person every four minutes.


“There has been an under diagnosis of COPD in the United States, many people don’t even know they have it,” says Director of Public Health Dr Jose Montero. “Avoiding tobacco use and early detection through screenings are two very important steps we must take to curb the rising rate of COPD.”


“We are educating NH residents about the risk factors and the symptoms of COPD and are thrilled at the opportunity to provide this screening effort,” said Diane Smogor, VP of Program Services at Breathe New Hampshire. “The screening is completely non-invasive, takes just a few minutes, and can literally be a matter of life and death for someone who has been ignoring or not understanding their symptoms.”


There are an estimated 24 million Americans currently living with COPD, less than half have been diagnosed. Like most chronic diseases, early detection is critical. Today there are newly developed treatment options that enable people to improve the quality of, or possibly even extend their lives. Unfortunately the diagnostic test for COPD, called a Spirometry test, is not widely available in the primary care setting, which is why education about the disease and free public screening programs such as this one are so important.


Anyone who is tested will have the chance to win raffle prizes ranging from Boston Bruins tickets to gas and grocery cards. The screening is taking place between 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. at the Puritan Conference Center (next to the Puritan Back Room) in Manchester. In addition to the screening, a limited supply of free nicotine replacement patches (quit smoking patches) will be made available through the mail to individuals who pre-register and are eligible. For more information about the free screening event or to pre-register for a flu shot or free patches, call 800-835-8647.


Through the Centers for Disease Control, the NH Tobacco Prevention and Control Program continues to provide funding for community-based tobacco prevention and control grants, as well as tobacco addiction treatment opportunities, including a free and confidential NH Smokers’ Helpline, 1-800-Try-To-STOP (1-800-879-8678), or visit www.trytostopnh.org for help while quitting. For more information on tobacco prevention and control call 603-271-6891.