World No Tobacco Day is Tuesday
Smoking is the No. 1 cause of preventable death in America, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), causing more than 1,300 deaths each day.
Nearly 20 percent of Pennsylvanian adults smoke, according to CDC data. That's more than the national average of 17 percent of adults.
The World Health Organization and WellSpan Health are hoping more people will quit smoking and avoid smokeless tobacco products on World No Tobacco Day on Tuesday.
"WellSpan works in both tobacco cessation and prevention programs," said Leah Neiderer, health educator and tobacco cessation program organizer. "We work with people to develop a quitting program that will work with them."
Cessation: York Hospital does offer tobacco cessation classes. The next session is from 9 to 11 a.m. June 9 at WellSpan Surgery and Rehabilitation Hospital, 55 Monument Road. Neiderer said the hospital offers one-on-one sessions as well as classes for community groups and employers.
"We have eight sessions over eight weeks," she said. "We also give a free four-week supply of nicotine replacements."
Since July 2015, 134 people were in the cessation program through WellSpan, Neiderer said. The people work to find out what causes their urges to smoke, whether it's their morning coffee or their commute to or from work that triggers lighting up.
"We really look at the physical, psychological and social addictions," Neiderer said. "Even if they don't quit entirely, we celebrate the small victories toward quitting. Every little step counts, like cutting back from a pack a day to a few cigarettes a day."
Taxing: The average cost of a pack of cigarettes is around $5.50 in Pennsylvania. If Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf's proposed 2016-2017 budget is approved, that cost would increase by $1 per pack, or five cents for each cigarette in that pack.
There's also a proposed tax on other tobacco products, including smokeless tobacco, large cigars and loose tobacco, and also on e-cigarettes. The products would be taxed 40 percent on the wholesale prices. These products are not currently taxed.
If these taxes are approved, the taxes could bring in roughly $604 million to the commonwealth.
Prevention: WellSpan also works with local high school students to help peer-mentors influence teens not to start the habit and discourage their friends who smoke from continuing the habit.
Neiderer has helped create the Teens Against Tobacco Use or TATU groups at a few high schools around the area.
"I think they've done a great job so far," she said. "We develop ways to share information with these teens through their friends."
For more information on the cessation classes WellSpan offers or to sign up for Tobacco Cessation 101 on June 9, call 717-851-3500 or 800-840-5905.
For more information on World No Tobacco Day, visit the World Health Organization website at who.int.