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As the new school year gets well underway, sports fans fill out their fantasy football season rosters (Go Eagles!) and northerners prepare for fall color tours and a potential "Snowpocalypse," the American Lung Association's work to eliminate tobacco use and tobacco-related diseases doesn't stop. We continue to promote cessation in partnership with CDC's 2019 Year of Cessation campaign, work diligently to increase resources available to support ending the epidemic of e-cigarette use among our youth and prepare for the future release of the U.S. Surgeon General's report on cessation—to be the first of its kind in the past 30 years. This August, our work in tobacco control and prevention continued full speed ahead with a large, organized presence as one nationwide organization at the 2019 National Conference on Tobacco or Health (NCTOH).

Sixty-eight Lung Association staff representing 24 states participated in the conference, which took place in Minneapolis, Minnesota August 27 – 29.

The Lung Association showcased a strong presence at four nationwide partnership ancillary meetings, two partnership breakfasts, several team dinners, five oral presentations and nine abstract poster presentations. In addition, staff participated in 357 educational sessions in 11 different program areas:

  • Cessation and Health Systems Transformation
  • Communications and Media
  • Evaluation and Surveillance
  • Health Equity
  • Nicotine and the Science of Addiction
  • Non-Cigarette Tobacco and Nicotine Products
  • Tobacco Product Regulation
  • Tobacco Control Policies and Legal Issues
  • Tobacco Industry
  • Youth and Young Adults
  • Tobacco Control Skill Building Workshops

Can you believe all that took place in just two-and-a-half days?

U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams kicked off the festivities during his keynote address by reflecting on where we've come from and the progress we've made over the years. But don't celebrate just yet, he reminded us. There are new challenges on the horizon.

The conference focused on making science a part of the conversation and how best to enhance cessation promotion, resources and support as well as best practices for addressing the epidemic of youth e-cigarette use through tried-and-true strategies combined with innovative new approaches, like providing cessation counseling and support to youth through texting (Ditch Juul by the Truth Initiative).

Photo credit: Danielle Miles, National Network of Public Health Institutes

Like Brian King (CDC Office on Smoking and Health) said in the closing plenary, we know what works when it comes to tobacco control and prevention. The four evidence-based components of the Tobacco Control Vaccine include: (1) tobacco price increases; (2) smokefree policies; (3) hard hitting media campaigns and (4) cessation access.

Now let's adapt those proven-effective strategies to the times.

One new, hard hitting media campaign educating teens about the dangers of vaping focuses on Luka Kinard and his past nicotine addiction. Having youth involved—not as just a token—but as their own advocates and leaders of the movement is powerful. And it works. We've seen time and time again that partnerships at the local, state and nationwide level are critical to providing quality access to cessation services and promoting policies that protect public health.

The two-and-a-half days of the conference were packed with powerful stories, innovative programs and solutions and information on emerging trends. We have the power to create and sustain a tobacco-free community and public across this country. So, let's get to it.

Did you attend the National Conference on Tobacco or Health this year? We want to hear from you. Share your thoughts and questions today.

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