Lung Association to Increase Access to Quit Smoking Resources in Communities with Support from Anthem Foundation
New initiative addresses health disparities, prevents tobacco-related illnesses
(March 31, 2016) -
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The American Lung Association announced a new partnership with the Anthem Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Anthem, Inc., to help smokers quit in local communities across nine states. The Addressing Tobacco Use Disparities in Priority Populations initiative will give people better access to proven-effective tobacco cessation services such as Freedom From Smoking® and will serve those who face a disproportionate burden of tobacco use and tobacco-related illness.
"We have made tremendous progress against tobacco addiction and the smoking rate is half of what it was in 1964, but not everyone has benefited equally. Some groups have been historically underserved with tobacco control efforts, and as a result now have a higher smoking rate than the general population," said Harold P. Wimmer, National President and CEO of the American Lung Association. "It's important to address this disparity to prevent or reduce tobacco-related illnesses in all parts of our society. With generous support from the Anthem Foundation, the Lung Association is working with local partners to address this unmet need for these priority populations."
Every year in the U.S., more than 480,000 people die from tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke, making it the leading cause of preventable death in this country. Smoking can cause or worsen numerous diseases and conditions, including lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), heart disease and more. This initiative will focus on populations at even greater risk for tobacco-related disease due to smoking rates and lack of access to affordable quit smoking resources in Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, Wisconsin, Colorado and Nevada.
"Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the United States, but we know that quitting can be difficult. That's why access to effective quit smoking methods is vital to help people quit for good," said Dr. Craig Samitt, executive vice president and chief clinical officer at Anthem, Inc. "Through this partnership with the Lung Association we look forward to bringing needed support and resources to populations at most risk to help them quit smoking, improve their lung health and prevent tobacco-related illnesses."
The American Lung Association will work with community partners to bring proven-effective smoking cessation services like Freedom From Smoking to communities. Freedom From Smoking has helped over one million smokers quit and is offered in person, online and by phone, and includes content on building a quit plan, medications that can aid quitting smoking, lifestyle changes that support quitting smoking, how to manage stress and how to overcome relapse and become smokefree for good.
For media interested in speaking with an expert about lung health, tobacco use and tobacco policies, contact the American Lung Association at Media@Lung.org or 312-801-7628.
About the American Lung Association
The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease, through research, education and advocacy. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to improve the air we breathe; to reduce the burden of lung disease on individuals and their families; and to eliminate tobacco use and tobacco-related diseases. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Guide Seal, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org.
The Anthem Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Anthem, Inc. and through charitable contributions and programs, the Foundation promotes the inherent commitment of Anthem, Inc. to enhance the health and well-being of individuals and families in communities that Anthem, Inc. and its affiliated health plans serve. The Foundation focuses its funding on strategic initiatives that address and provide innovative solutions to health care challenges, as well as promoting the Healthy Generations Program, a multi-generational initiative that targets specific disease states and medical conditions. These disease states and medical conditions include: prenatal care in the first trimester, low birth weight babies, cardiac morbidity rates, long term activities that decrease obesity and increase physical activity, diabetes prevalence in adult populations, adult pneumococcal and influenza vaccinations and smoking cessation. The Foundation also coordinates the company's year-round Associate Giving program which provides a 50 percent match of associates' pledges, as well as its Volunteer Time Off and Dollars for Doers community service programs. To learn more about the Anthem Foundation, please visit http://www.anthem.foundation and its blog at http://anthemfoundation.tumblr.com.