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Tobacco Free Florida In Hillsborough County Calls For Quit Attempts During The Great American Smokeout

By Kevin Watler, Public Information Officer

November 15, 2021

With the annual Great American Smokeout taking place November 18, Tobacco Free Florida in Hillsborough County is using this observance to encourage people to make a plan to quit smoking using the free tools and services available to Floridians.
Tracing its history back more than 40 years, the American Cancer Society's Great American Smokeout marks a date when smokers are encouraged to use the date to either make a plan or begin their quit journey. This year, the American Cancer Society is highlighting tobacco-related disparities during the Great American Smokeout.

While cigarette smoking rates have declined, some groups smoke at higher rates and suffer disproportionately from smoking-related illnesses. The health burden of tobacco use is exceptionally high among racial and ethnic minorities, low-income individuals, the LGBT community, and those with mental health conditions. Additionally, lower-income populations have less access to health care, making them more likely to be diagnosed at later stages of diseases and conditions.

In observance of the Great American Smokeout, Tobacco Free Florida in Hillsborough County will educate the local Tobacco Free Hillsborough Partnership members as part of the official relaunch on November 18, 2021, at 1:30 p.m. via Microsoft Teams. This effort brings together local organizations, service providers, and Hillsborough residents to work on community-focused tobacco prevention efforts that benefit Hillsborough and promote quitting tobacco.

Quitting smoking can add up to 10 years to life expectancy. The health benefits of quitting smoking include reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke, improving lung function, and lowering the chances of getting an array of different cancers.

"Creating a quit plan and using proven effective resources, like Tobacco Free Florida, can significantly increase your chances of quitting for good," said Christina Holmes, CEO Gulfcoast North AHEC. Tobacco Free Florida services include Web Quit, Phone Quit, Group Quit, and nicotine replacement therapy, all free regardless of insurance for all Floridians. The Great American Smokeout provides the perfect opportunity to help anyone start their quit journey.

"With the assistance of services like ours, the quit rate in Hillsborough County continues to decline. Smokers can and do quit smoking. In fact, today there are more former smokers than current smokers in Florida."

Information on the history of the Great American Smokeout, national activities to support quitting, and other materials can be found here. Tobacco Free Florida's quit tips, tools, and more are available by visiting or calling 1-877-U-CAN-NOW.

About Tobacco Free Florida

The Florida Department of Health's Tobacco Free Florida campaign is a statewide cessation and prevention campaign funded by Florida's tobacco settlement fund. Since the program began in 2007, more than 254,000 Floridians have successfully quit using one of Tobacco Free Florida's free tools and services. There are now approximately 451,000 fewer adult smokers in Florida than there were 10 years ago, and the state has saved $17.7 billion in health care costs. To learn more about Tobacco Free Florida's Quit Your Way services, visit or follow the campaign on Facebook or Twitter.



About the Florida Department of Health

The department, nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board, works to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts.

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