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Smoking is an addiction—and as most smokers know, quitting isn't easy. What's even more frustrating is that the odds are stacked against certain groups of people. From targeted tobacco ad campaigns to a lack of affordable quit smoking resources, we have large health disparities in the United States.

The American Lung Association and Anthem Foundation have come together to bring the Addressing Tobacco Use Disparities in Priority Populations project to local communities in nine states, ensuring better access to proven quit-smoking programs in populations that need it most.

"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 it's important to address this disparity to prevent and reduce tobacco-related illnesses in all parts of our society," said Harold P. Wimmer, National President and CEO of the American Lung Association in support of the new partnership.

Every year in the United States, 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. Quitting smoking is difficult, and it can take many tries before someone is smokefree for good.

Through this initiative, the American Lung Association will work closely with non-profit partners in select communities to provide free or low cost quit-smoking resources for those who face a disproportionate burden of tobacco use and tobacco-related illnesses. Quit-smoking help is available by phone, through local support groups, and even online. We're helping to bring communities together to show that through the support of others, quitting smoking is possible for anyone and everyone.

We can build a brighter future if we tackle this together. Follow our work in Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, Wisconsin, Colorado and Nevada through #QuitBetterTogether. Because quitting really is better together.

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