Fair at UH explores tobacco effects


POSTED: Thursday, November 20, 2008

The American Cancer Society's Great American Smokeout health fair is scheduled from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. today at the University of Hawaii-Manoa Campus Center Mall.

Volunteer community and campus groups will educate students about the effects of tobacco through interactive games and displays at the event, hosted by the Health Promotion Office of University Health Services-Manoa.

Participants include the state Department of Health Tobacco Prevention Education Program, the Quitline, UH School of Dental Hygiene, Institute of Clinical Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, American Cancer Society and others.

The American Lung Association also is offering help to smokers, pointing out, “;Cold turkey is great for Thanksgiving leftovers, but quitting cold turkey just doesn't work for the majority of smokers.”;

Smokers need help to quit, such as nicotine replacement therapy, prescription medications and counseling, said the ALA, which offers cessation services tailored to an individual's needs.

The Tobacco-Free Coalition is working with a number of businesses to help employees quit smoking, said director Deborah Zysman. Employers across the country want a healthy work force, she said. “;We're seeing that trend here.”;

Recent studies estimated that lifetime savings in tobacco-related health costs total more than $20,000 when a smoker quits, according to the American Lung Association. A 2004 study estimated that smoking costs each state's Medicaid programs an average of $600 million each year, the ALA said.

The effects of tobacco on the body are clearly shown in the “;Bodies”; Exhibit at Ala Moana Center. Admission to the display near Nordstrom has been reduced to $15 today for people who mention the Great American Smokeout, Zysman said.

Smokers who want to quit are urged to seek help through their insurance plans, cessation programs or the Hawaii State Quitline, (800) QUIT NOW (784-8669).