Partners from the North Dakota Department of Health's Tobacco Free North Dakota program in conjunction with the North Dakota local public health units are encouraging all tobacco and e-cigarette users in North Dakota to set a quit date during 'It’s Quitting Time' on June 14-20.

This week-long awareness campaign brings attention to the dangers of tobacco and nicotine, while encouraging users to seek help quitting from a healthcare provider, pharmacist, NDQuits program or the Southwestern District Health Unit. These entities can help develop a quit plan and provide tools and resources to greatly improve a tobacco user’s odds at success. Southwestern District Health Unit and NDQuits provide additional support in the form of personal coaching and nicotine replacement therapy medication, including free nicotine patches, nicotine gum or nicotine lozenges provided to qualified enrollees.

Tobacco and e-cigarette use is associated with several health risks including many types of cancers, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and respiratory illnesses such as COVID-19. E-cigarette use is also linked to E-cigarette or Vaping Product Use-Associated Lung Injury (EVALI), a serious respiratory illness that could be severe and life-threatening.

“Most tobacco and nicotine users want to quit. They try and then fail because they aren’t getting the help they need. Setting a quit date during It’s Quitting Time can help,” Jennifer Schaeffer, Tobacco Prevention Coordinator with Southwestern District Health Unit, said. “Talk to your provider at Southwestern District Health Unit about resources available and how to get started.”

Despite declining tobacco use rates in North Dakota, 17% of adults in the state still smoke. According to the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, smoking causes 1,000 deaths each year in the state, and contributes to about $326 million in annual healthcare. Tobacco is still a problem in North Dakota.

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"The Southwestern District Health Unit's Tobacco Free North Dakota and NDQuits are committed to reducing the toll tobacco has on our state," Schaeffer said.

To learn about resources available to quit tobacco and nicotine, contact Southwestern District Health Unit at 701.483.3760 or www.nquits.health.nd.gov.