Extinguishing the Tobacco Epidemic in Nebraska

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

Nebraska Key Facts

In 2019, 18.8% of Nebraska high school youth reported currently using any tobacco product, including e-cigarettes. Among Nebraska high school youth, 4.2% reported currently smoking cigarettes.

$1.2M

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

14.7%

Of adults smoked cigarettes in 2019

2,500

Adults die from smoking-related illnesses each year

$795M

Was spent on healthcare costs due to smoking in 2009

$1.2M

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

14.7%

Of adults smoked cigarettes in 2019

2,500

Adults die from smoking-related illnesses each year

$795M

Was spent on healthcare costs due to smoking in 2009

Public Health Response to Tobacco Use in Nebraska

There is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke. It causes stroke, lung cancer, and coronary heart disease in adults. Nebraska has a comprehensive smoke-free law that prohibits smoking in all indoor areas of workplaces, restaurants, and bars that has been in effect since 2009. Since that law was adopted, Nebraska has continued to expand areas where residents are protected from exposure to secondhand smoke. Upon request, the state provides research, data and analysis, and scientific consultation to communities, multiunit housing operators, hospitals, businesses, and colleges and universities that want to protect residents from secondhand smoke. For example, the University of Nebraska Omaha has established a tobacco-free campus. Additionally, Community Alliance, a social service agency with treatment centers that help adults with mental illness, recently implemented a tobacco-free campus which includes 88 housing units for residents. Throughout Nebraska, 39 public housing authorities have made some or all of their housing units smoke-free.

CDC’s Role in Advancing State Tobacco Control Programs

Nebraska 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 Nebraska 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 Nebraska 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

The 2020 Tips® campaign: The Nebraska state quitline received a total of 3,068 calls from March 23rd – October 8th during the 2020 Tips® campaign.

Nebraska 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