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Oklahomans Can Quit Tobacco this World Lung Cancer Day with Free Assistance from The Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline

Plus, Project Connect Offers Lung Cancer Screening Resources Online

OKLAHOMA CITY (July 23, 2021) — This World Lung Cancer Day, August 1, the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline is urging Oklahomans to quit tobacco using its FREE resources and highlighting the importance of lung cancer screening for early detection. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that cigarette smoking is the number one risk factor for lung cancer and is associated with 80% to 90% of lung cancer deaths. Exposure to secondhand smoke can also cause lung cancer.

“The Helpline is a free resource for Oklahomans thinking about quitting tobacco with a 95% approval rating from Oklahomans who have used the program,” said TSET Executive Director Julie Bisbee. “Assisting those struggling with nicotine addiction is where we can make an impact by saving lives and preventing years of unnecessary pain and suffering associated with chronic diseases like lung cancer.”

According to the American Lung Association, the annual rate of new lung cancer cases in Oklahoma is 67.7 per 100,000 residents – totaling around 3,000 new cases each year. This is significantly higher than the national rate. Lung cancer remains the leading cause of cancer deaths with most cases undiagnosed until later stages, when the disease is less curable. In Oklahoma, only 19.8% of cases are caught at an early stage, which is significantly lower than the national rate of 22.9%. 

To help improve the early detection rate in Oklahoma, the Helpline has partnered with M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and North American Quitline Consortium on Project Connect, a new digital tool to help people determine if lung cancer screenings are right for them and, if so, to find resources to get screened. Annual lung cancer screening for those at highest risk can reduce the death rate by up to 20%. Those identified as high-risk are individuals 55-80 years of age who have a history of smoking and are a current smoker, or have quit within the last 15 years.

“The best way to prevent lung cancer is to never start using tobacco products, and if you already use tobacco, the next best way to prevent lung cancer is to stop,” said Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline Director Jon Hart, Ph.D. “The Helpline uses time-tested, evidence-based approaches to increase your chances of successfully quitting tobacco. Plus, the new Project Connect resources available online will help tobacco users determine if they should get screened for lung cancer. We’re hopeful this support will ultimately boost early detection rates and survivability in Oklahoma.”

Oklahoma ranks 41st among the 47 states in the percent (18.6%) of people living five years after a diagnosis.   

This World Lung Cancer Day, consider a healthier lifestyle by thinking about quitting tobacco. Call 1-800-QUIT NOW (1-800-784-8669) or visit OKHelpline.com to explore all the free services and resources available to Oklahomans. Connect with the Helpline through social media by liking the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline on Facebook or following @OKhelpline on Twitter and Instagram. For more information about Project Connect, visit lungscreen.health. 

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The Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline is a free service for Oklahomans wanting to help themselves, loved ones, patients or employees live tobacco free. Funding is primarily provided by the Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust, in partnership with the Oklahoma State Department of Health, Oklahoma Health Care Authority, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline has served more than 450,000 Oklahomans since 2003 and has been ranked among the top quitlines for reaching tobacco users seeking treatment for the last 10 years by the North American Quitline Consortium.

My Life, My Quit is a free program to help Oklahoma teens, ages 13-17, quit tobacco, including e-cigarettes. Offering tools most utilized by teens, free live texting, web chat and phone calls, My Life, My Quit supports teens through the steps of quitting tobacco to be able to live tobacco free. Funded by the Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust, these free services for Oklahoma teens can be found at MyLifeMyQuit.com or by texting “Start My Quit” to 36072.

The Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust serves as a partner and bridge builder for organizations shaping a healthier future for all Oklahomans. TSET provides leadership at the intersections of health by working with local coalitions and initiatives across the state, cultivating innovative and life-changing research, and working across public and private sectors to develop, support, implement and evaluate creative strategies to take advantage of emerging opportunities to improve the public’s health. To learn more, visit TSET.OK.GOV

 TSET – Better Lives Through Better Health