NEW ORLEANS – Studies have shown that children are three times more likely to smoke if their parents smoke. To counteract the numerous messages targeting young smokers, Kick Butts Day was started in 1996 as a day of activism to empower youth to stand out, speak up and seize control against Big Tobacco. It is organized by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and sponsored by the United Health Foundation. By hosting “kick butts” events around the country, including many here in Louisiana, they aim to explain the dangers of cigarettes to this young, potentially vulnerable, audience.
The Smoking Cessation Trust is the result of a court judgment in a 14-year-old class action lawsuit entitled Scott v. American Tobacco Company. The judgment became final in 2011 and ordered certain tobacco companies to fund a statewide, 10-year smoking cessation program to benefit more than 200,000 Louisiana smokers who are members of the plaintiff class (the "Scott Class"). The recipient of the award was a court-established and court-supervised smoking cessation program to benefit all Louisiana residents who began smoking cigarettes before September 1, 1988.
Applicants who register for the smoking cessation program and are approved as qualified recipients will be eligible to receive any of the following cessation services completely free: cessation medications, individual/ group cessation counseling, telephone quit-line support, and/or intensive cessation support services. By using these services, evidence suggests that participants will increase the success rate of attempts to stop smoking cigarettes, and may successfully quit—for good.
"Studies have shown that 90% of adult smokers began in their teens or earlier with two thirds becoming regular smokers before they reach the age of 19. Smoking is evident in adults but begins in childhood. We must come together to effectively protect our children" said Patrick Quinlan MD, CEO of Ochsner International Services and Executive Director for the Center for Community Wellness and Health Policy. Ochsner Health System provides a smoking cessation program for its patients and employees, and for eligible patients, treatment is free of charge in partnership with the Smoking Cessation Trust. "Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States with 470,000 lives lost, and costs the nation $300 billion in healthcare costs and lost productivity. Smoking kills 6,200 people each year in Louisiana and costs the state $3 billion in direct costs and lost productivity."
“Many of the smokers we see coming through our program, began smoking when they were teenagers,” said Mike Rogers, Chief Executive Officer of SCT Management Services. “We strongly encourage young people ‘not to start’ or ‘quit smoking cigarettes.’ We also ask that they share the ‘Kick Butts’ message with their parents, grandparents and other older adults in their lives, many whom are eligible to register for the various free smoking cessation products and services we offer. Sometimes, especially for parents, hearing the message of concern from their children or grandchildren is just the impetus they need to kick the cigarette habit.”
For more information or to register online, visit the Smoking Cessation Trust’s website at www.smokefreela.org or call toll-free at 1-855-259-6346. Click here for more information on the free Ochsner Smoking Cessation Clinic.