According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in the United States, tobacco use is responsible for about one in five deaths annually (i.e., about 443,000 deaths per year, and an estimated 49,000 of these tobacco-related deaths are the result of secondhand smoke exposure).
In Idaho, 16.9% of the adult population (aged 18+ years)—over 187,000 individuals—are current cigarette smokers. Across all states, the prevalence of cigarette smoking among adults ranges from 9.3% to 26.5%. Idaho ranks 15th among the states.
South Central Public Health District, in partnership with Idaho's Project Filter, is working towards reducing the number of tobacco-related deaths in Idaho through three main tobacco prevention and control goals:
Prevent initiation of tobacco use among youth
Promote tobacco cessation among adults and youth
Eliminate exposure to environmental tobacco smoke
These goals are met by developing counter-marketing strategies, school and youth-based programs, and policy change.
Reducing Exposure to Secondhand Smoke
Each year in Idaho, more than 1,200 young people under the age of 18 become new daily smokers. More surprisingly, 24,000 youth will ultimately die prematurely from smoking. Supporting tobacco-free parks and recreation areas sends the right message—that tobacco use is unhealthy and an unnecessary behavior.
All seven public health districts in Idaho are working with local municipalities to develop policies that restrict smoking in parks.
On September 20, 2010, the City of Twin Falls passed a tobacco-free park policy, which prohibits smoking within 50 feet of playground equipment, picnic tables, shelters, and bleachers in all city parks. See the City of Twin Falls webpage for more details.
In January 2012 the city of Oakley passed a tobacco-free park ordinance.
Current policy work: South Central Public Health District will be actively helping communities in south central Idaho with tobacco/smoke-free policies in any of the following venues: ski hills, businesses, bars, restaurants, hair salons, grocery stores, multi-unit housing complexes and/or single-dwelling units. If you are interested in implementing a tobacco/smoke-free policy in any of the mentioned venues please call the Tobacco Prevention Coordinator at 208-737-5988.
Teens Against Tobacco Use (TATU): this program is a youth empowerment program that teaches teens to fight back against tobacco use. The overall goal of TATU is to help youth remain tobacco free. Teens are taught the dangers of tobacco use and in turn develop tobacco prevention messages that are presented to younger children. Teens as teachers and role-models are effective in preventing tobacco use among the students that look up to them. If your school or student organization is interested in participating in TATU, please contact our Tobacco Prevention Coordinator at 208-737-5988.
For more information: TATU Brochure
Tar Wars: Is a school based program for 5th graders and is presented by health care providers in the community. Students participate in interactive activities designed to increase their knowledge of the short-term effects of tobacco use, identify reasons why people use tobacco products, and think critically about tobacco advertising. For more information, call the Tobacco Prevention Coordinator at 208-737-5988.
National & Worldwide Tobacco Awareness Observances or Events:
Kick Butts Day: sponsored by Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, is a national day of activism that empowers youth to speak up and take action against Big Tobacco. This event happens annually on the 4th Wednesday of March. For the next scheduled event go to www.kickbuttsday.org.
World No Tobacco Day: Each year the World Health Organization (WHO) celebrates World No Tobacco Day, highlighting the health risks associated with tobacco use and advocating for effective policies to reduce consumption. This event happens annually on the 31st of May. For more details on the next event go to www.who.int.
Great American Smokeout: this event is to inspire and encourage smokers to quit for one day. The Great American Smokeout remains a great opportunity to encourage people to commit to making a long-term plan to quit for good. This event happens on the third Thursday of November. For more information go to www.cancer.org.