Health and Human Services (HHS) recently announced the launch of BeTobaccoFree.gov, a comprehensive website providing one-stop access to the best and most up-to-date tobacco-related information from across its agencies. This consolidated resource includes general information on tobacco, federal and state laws and policies, health statistics, and evidence-based methods on how to quit.
“Tobacco use continues to be the leading cause of premature and preventable death in the United States,” said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “BeTobaccoFree.gov builds upon the Obama administration’s commitment to help tobacco users quit and prevent children from starting to use tobacco products.”
BeTobaccoFree.gov uses responsive design, making information accessible anywhere, anytime on any platform, from smart phone to tablet to desktop. The website’s unique social media dashboard, “Say it - Share it,” constantly provides real time updates from HHS tobacco related social media accounts, including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Infographics, Podcasts, and Tumblr.
“HHS is committed to using technology to help Americans lead longer healthier lives,” said Assistant Secretary for Health Howard K. Koh, M.D., M.P.H. “Today, as we commemorate the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout, the launch of BeTobaccoFree.gov demonstrates our dedication to reducing the harms from tobacco use. Regardless of age, those who stop smoking and using tobacco can substantially reduce their risk for disease.”
During the last three years, HHS increased efforts to reduce tobacco use by coordinating across its agencies, to provide Americans with access to available cessation and education tools. A few key accomplishments include:
• As a result of the Affordable Care Act, most private health insurance plans must now cover without cost-sharing tobacco use screening and cessation interventions for tobacco users.
• The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) launched Tips From Former Smokers, a national education campaign that featured former smokers living with smoking-related diseases and disabilities.
• The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) built a national science-based tobacco product regulation program to reduce the impact of tobacco use on the nation’s health, especially among youth, such as enforcing the ban on cigarettes with characterizing flavors other than menthol like candy and fruit, as well as other restrictions on tobacco products and marketing.
• The National Cancer Institute (NCI) recently launched Quitpal, a free smartphone app to support smokers working to become smoke-free.
• The Surgeon General released Preventing Tobacco Use Among Youth and Young Adults. This 2012 report detailed the scope, health consequences and influences that lead to youth tobacco use and proven strategies that prevent its use.
CDC, in its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, released new information indicating that 30 of America’s 50 largest cities are now protected by comprehensive laws that prohibit smoking in all indoor areas of private workplaces, restaurants and bars.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration also released a new report today, showing that current cigarette smoking rates among 12-to 17-year-olds fell significantly from 2002 to 2010 in 41 states.
Collectively, these actions better enable the United States to accelerate progress toward achieving the national Healthy People objectives of reducing adult smoking from 19 percent to 12 percent and reducing smoking among high school students from 18.1 percent to 16 percent by 2020.
Visit www.BeTobaccoFree.gov for information on helping tobacco users quit and providing young people with information on avoiding or ending tobacco use.