DHHS Recognizes World No Tobacco Day May 31st

Concord, NH - The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is recognizing World No Tobacco Day May 31, 2008. World No Tobacco Day is an annual event sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO). It's aimed at raising awareness about the dangers of tobacco use; this year's theme is Tobacco-Free Youth.

"Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States," said DHHS Commissioner Nicholas Toumpas. "The best thing smokers can do to protect themselves and the health of their loved ones is to quit. We need to do everything we can to help in that process, which includes educating them about the dangers they may be exposing themselves or their families to by smoking or using tobacco." Studies show smokers are more likely to quit permanently if they receive counseling, behavioral therapy, and pharmacological treatment.

Just last year the New Hampshire Legislature made changes to the NH Indoor Smoking Act in an effort to protect the health of residents. The Legislature passed a law banning smoking in bars, restaurants, public educational facilities, licensed childcare centers, and grocery stores. The changes are aimed at decreasing secondhand smoke exposure.

"We know that secondhand smoke causes premature death and disease in children and non-smoking adults, and there is no risk-free level of secondhand smoke exposure," said Dr. Jose Montero, Director of the Division of Public Health Services. "We continue to reach out to practitioners to provide them with information so they can make effective treatments available to smokers and other tobacco users in an effort to help them quit."

DHHS's Tobacco Prevention and Control Program (TPCP) continues to provide funding for community-based tobacco prevention and control grants, as well as tobacco addiction treatment opportunities, including a free and confidential Smokers' Helpline, 1-800-Try-To-STOP (1-800-879-8670).

For help while quitting people can also visit www.trytostop.org.

For more about World No Tobacco Day, visit WHO at http://www.who.int/tobacco/wntd/2008/activities/en/index.html.