May 31 is World No Tobacco Day: Help Your Patients Quit for Good

The Dangers of Smoking

Each year, 480,000 people die from smoking, and 41,000 people die from secondhand smoke in the United States. While much of the world understands that smoking is closely related to cancer, many do not know that tobacco is one of the leading causes of heart complications and diseases. To bring attention to this little-known fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) established an annual observance named World No Tobacco Day.

World No Tobacco Day

Since 1988, the World Health Organization (WHO) has used World No Tobacco Day to highlight the harmful effects of cigarettes and other tobacco products on a person’s overall health.

In honor of the yearly campaign, ASNA recognizes those who have fallen victim to tobacco dependence and stands by them to advocate for them, and protect them from the deleterious effects of tobacco use.

COVID-19 and Tobacco Use

Through the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers have highlighted the association between tobacco smoking and adverse COVID-19 disease outcomes, and the need for smokers to quit. Evidence from the US Surgeon General's report suggests that cigarette smoking can inhibit the immune system, increase the risk of respiratory infections, increase the risk of respiratory illnesses such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma, and cause heart and lung diseases.

Quitting tobacco products has immediate, short-term, and long-term health benefits. As members of the 4 million-strong nurses in the US and 21 million worldwide we are uniquely positioned to combat tobacco addiction and squash tobacco use in several ways including helping our patients to quit smoking.

Help Your Patients Quit Smoking

The COVID-19 pandemic provides an opportunity to encourage and support quitting tobacco use by:

  • Offering quitting services - For support in quitting, including free quit coaching, a free quit plan, free educational materials, and referrals to local resources, call:1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669)
  • Providing brief advice to quit in healthcare settings
  • Leveraging new technology to reach tobacco users (apps, mobile phones, Quitlines, social media)
  • Providing telehealth services or apps that allow the end-user to opt-in for advice on quitting
  • Increasing access to free or low-cost pharmacotherapy (eg, cessation medications and nicotine replacement therapies)
  • Offering behavioral counseling

ASNA and World No Tobacco Day

To support World No Tobacco Day and in the spirit of preparing nurses in the fight against tobacco, we encourage you to visit the American Nurses Association tobacco cessation webpage for useful tips, facts, stats, and quit tools to help your patients today. Another great resource is the 2020 CDC Tips for Former Smokers Campaign page which features stories from former smokers that can aid in your patient’s journey to quit smoking for good!