Friday, May 24, 2013

As you know, smoking is the leading cause of preventable death and disease, killing nearly 9,700 Hoosiers each year. For every person who dies from tobacco use, another 20 are suffering from one or more serious smoking-related illnesses. Reducing smoking is one proven way we can help people live healthier lives and is a 2013 strategic priority of the Indiana State Department of Health.   Not smoking while pregnant is also critical for reducing Indiana’s high infant mortality rate, also a priority of ISDH. 
This spring, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) launched the second Tips From Former Smokers national tobacco education campaign (Tips 2013) to raise awareness about the suffering caused by smoking and secondhand smoke exposure, and to encourage smokers to quit.  As a health care provider, you know smoking has a negative impact on your patient’s health.
Next week, the media campaign will highlight a “Talk With Your Doctor” effort by including the tagline: “You Can Quit. Talk with Your Doctor for Help.”  This will provide a great opportunity for you to ask your patients about their tobacco use and encourage them to make a quit attempt. You are one of the most important sources of health information for your patients and their families.  Tobacco users are more likely to make a quit attempt if advised by their doctor.
I am reaching out to ask that you use your influence as a health care provider to help your patients quit smoking!  Please see attached letter that contains links to information that will assist you. 
William C. VanNess II, MD
State Health Commissioner
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