November 18, 2014
Concord, NH – In celebration of the 37th Great American Smoke Out (GASO), the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Division of Public Health Services (DPHS) recognizes the work of New Hampshire colleges and universities committed to implementing tobacco-free policies on their campuses. DHHS recognizes the importance of GASO on Thursday, November 20, 2014. This event, sponsored by the American Cancer Society, encourages tobacco users to quit for at least one day in the hope that this might challenge them to stop permanently.
DPHS released a competitive request for proposals for the purpose of increasing the number of tobacco-free college campuses in New Hampshire. The contract was awarded to the University System of New Hampshire (USNH) and the Community College System of New Hampshire (CCSNH). Together, USNH and CCSNH will work with students and faculty at 23 university and college campuses across the State to promote and adopt tobacco-free policies that also address electronic cigarette use indoors and outdoors. The project will have a positive impact on staff and students and will enhance the economic health of the system(s). Reducing tobacco on campuses could prevent a new cohort of lifetime smokers.
Many New Hampshire college and university campuses will be holding events and offering information about quitting tobacco and the NH Tobacco Helpline resources (1-800-QUIT-NOW) for the Great American Smoke Out event on November 20th. DHHS celebrates the collaboration’s current success and enthusiasm.
"Across the U.S. and here in New Hampshire we have made great progress in reducing smoking rates and therefore smoking-related illness and death," said Dr. José Montero, "but we still have a responsibility to our youth and young adults to continue. Smoking harms nearly every organ of the body, but quitting has immediate and long-lasting effects. If you use tobacco, it’s not too late to quit, and the Great American Smoke Out is a great day to begin."
Currently, 16.2% of New Hampshire adults report smoking. According to the 2011 Alcohol, Drugs, and Tobacco Survey at the University of New Hampshire Durham campus, 15.3% of students indicated that they smoke every day or some days, and 18.2% of students indicated that they smoke cigarettes while drinking alcohol. It is important that New Hampshire institutions of higher learning help students and residents quit tobacco and provide them with cessation resources. DPHS currently offers free counseling to all residents who call 1-800-QUIT-NOW or self-refer via the web to the NH Tobacco Helpline's website (www.TryToStopNH.org). The Helpline provides no-cost counseling and encouragement for quitting tobacco use to all New Hampshire residents.
For more information about the New Hampshire Division of Public Health Services or the Tobacco Prevention and Control Program visit www.dhhs.nh.gov. For information about the Great American Smoke Out visit www.cancer.org/healthy/stayawayfromtobacco/greatamericansmokeout/index.