Extinguishing the Tobacco Epidemic in Alabama

The Problem

Cigarette smoking remains the leading cause of preventable death and disability in the United States, despite a significant decline in the number of people who smoke. Over 16 million Americans have at least one disease caused by smoking. This amounts to $170 billion in direct medical costs that could be saved every year if we could prevent youth from starting to smoke and help every person who smokes to quit.

people surrounded by various tobacco products

Alabama Key Facts

In 2019, 26.7% of Alabama high school youth reported currently using any tobacco product, including e-cigarettes. Among Alabama high school youth, 7.1% reported currently smoking cigarettes.

$1.6M

Was received from CDC for tobacco prevention and control activities in FY 2020

20.3%

Of adults smoked cigarettes in 2019

8,600

Adults die from smoking-related illnesses each year

$1.9B

Was spent on healthcare costs due to smoking in 2009

$1.6M

Was received from CDC for tobacco prevention and control activities in FY 2020

20.3%

Of adults smoked cigarettes in 2019

8,600

Adults die from smoking-related illnesses each year

$1.9B

Was spent on healthcare costs due to smoking in 2009

Public Health Response to Tobacco Use in Alabama

Alabama has identified ways to help increase quitline use among the Medicaid population. The state tobacco program partnered with the state Medicaid program to conduct targeted media campaigns for Medicaid recipients and sent direct mailings to more than 235,000 Medicaid recipients promoting the quitline. Medicaid callers increased by more than 200% during these targeted outreach efforts. Approximately 44% of quitline users reported Medicaid as their insurance provider during that period. Efforts like this in states complement the efforts of the Tips From Former Smokers® (Tips®) Campaign.

CDC’s Role in Advancing State Tobacco Control Programs

Alabama is one of 50 states plus DC that receives funding and technical support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to support comprehensive tobacco control efforts and quitlines. The Office on Smoking and Health (OSH) is the lead federal agency for comprehensive tobacco prevention and control. For decades, OSH has led public health efforts to prevent young people from using tobacco and to help all tobacco users to quit.

CDC’s Tips From Former Smokers® (Tips®) Campaign Helps Alabama Smokers Quit Smoking

Despite significant progress, tobacco use remains the leading preventable cause of death and disease in the US.  The good news is that 7 out of 10 smokers want to quit smoking. That is why since 2012 CDC has been educating the public about the consequences of smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke and encouraging smokers to quit through a federally funded, national tobacco education campaign, Tips From Former Smokers®. The campaign features former smokers suffering from the real consequences of smoking.

The Tips® campaign connects smokers with resources to help them quit, including a quitline number (1-800-QUIT-NOW) which routes callers to their state quitline. The Alabama quitline provides free cessation services, including counseling and medication. These services are effective in improving health outcomes and reducing healthcare costs.

1-800-QUIT-NOW

“I was thinking about relapsing today and the new commercials came on. It changed my mind real fast. You don’t understand the power of these commercials until you have made the decision to quit. Terrie Hall makes me cry every time . . . that could easily be me.”

–Justin: January 2016

Incoming calls to the Alabama state quitline increased by an average 29% during the 2020 Tips® campaign. The Alabama state quitline received a total of 7,942 calls from March 23rd – October 8th during the 2020 Tips® campaign.

Alabama Tobacco Prevention & Control Programs Reduce Healthcare Costs

Tobacco prevention and control activities are a public health “best buy.” Evidence-based, statewide tobacco control programs that are comprehensive, sustained, and accountable have been shown to reduce the number of people who smoke, as well as tobacco-related diseases and deaths. For every dollar spent on tobacco prevention, states can reduce tobacco-related health care expenditures and hospitalizations by up to $55. The longer and more states invest, the larger the reductions in youth and adult smoking. A comprehensive statewide tobacco control program includes efforts to:

broken cigarette that is crossed out

1Prevent initiation of tobacco use especially among youth and young adults

conference

2 Promote cessation and assist tobacco users to quit

No smoking

3 Protect people from secondhand smoke