Tobacco’s Toll in Nebraska

Today is World No Tobacco Day!  Here’s some information to get you started….Did you know that:

  • Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, imposing a huge toll on health, lives and dollars on families, businesses and government.
  • Tobacco kills more than 400,000 people annually – more than AIDS, alcohol, car accidents, illegal drugs, murders and suicides combined.
  • Tobacco costs the U.S. more than $96 billion in health care expenditures and $97 billion in lost productivity each year.
  • While the United States has made major progress against tobacco use, one in five Americans still smokes, and about 4,000 kids try their first cigarette each day.

Now let’s take it to Nebraska….Here’s some data to get you thinking about the consequences of tobacco right here in our state.

The Toll of Tobacco in Nebraska

High school students who smoke 15.0% (15,600)
Male high school students who use smokeless or spit tobacco 10.2% (females use much lower)
Kids (under 18) who become new daily smokers each year 2,000
Kids exposed to secondhand smoke at home 96,000
Packs of cigarettes bought or smoked by kids each year 3.9 million
Adults in Nebraska who smoke* 20.0% (276,500)

*Due to changes in CDC’s methodology, the 2011 adult smoking rate cannot be compared to adult smoking data from previous years.

 U.S. National Data (2011)

High school smoking rate: 18.1%
Male high school students who use smokeless tobacco: 12.8%
Adult smoking rate 19.0%

 Deaths in Nebraska from Smoking

Adults who die each year from their own smoking 2,200
Kids now under 18 and alive in Nebraska who will ultimately die prematurely from smoking 36,000

Smoking kills more people than alcohol, AIDS, car crashes, illegal drugs, murders, and suicides combined — and thousands more die from other tobacco-related causes — such as fires caused by smoking (more than 1,000 deaths/year nationwide) and smokeless tobacco use.

Smoking-Caused Monetary Costs in Nebraska

Annual health care costs in Nebraska directly caused by smoking $537 million
Portion covered by the state Medicaid program $134 million
Residents’ state & federal tax burden from smoking-caused government expenditures $573 per household
Smoking-caused productivity losses in Nebraska $500 million

Amounts do not include health costs caused by exposure to secondhand smoke, smoking-caused fires, smokeless tobacco use, or cigar and pipe smoking. Tobacco use also imposes additional costs such as workplace productivity losses and damage to property.

Tobacco Industry Influence in Nebraska

Annual tobacco industry marketing expenditures nationwide $8.5 billion
Estimated portion spent for Nebraska marketing each year $54.0 million

Published research studies have found that kids are twice as sensitive to tobacco advertising than adults and are more likely to be influenced to smoke by cigarette marketing than by peer pressure. One-third of underage experimentation with smoking is attributable to tobacco company advertising.

Join us in participating in the dialogue about World No Tobacco Day! Talk about it and Share it. Leave us a comment, Facebook us, or Tweet us @UNMCCRHD @MOTACOmaha using hashtag: #WNTD2013!



World No Tobacco Day – May 31

World No Tobacco Day 2013 Official Poster

World No Tobacco Day 2013 Official Poster

World No Tobacco Day, celebrated each year on May 31, unites people, governments and civil society for action against the harms to health of tobacco use. Every year a theme is picked and this year’s theme is “Free yourself!” This is the World Health Organization’s message to governments. A comprehensive ban of all tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship is required under the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

Tobacco use is one of the leading preventable causes of death.  According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the global tobacco epidemic kills nearly 6 million people each year, of which more than 600,000 are people exposed to second-hand smoke. Unless we act, it will kill up to 8 million people by 2030, of which more than 80% will live in low- and middle-income countries.

Again this year as part of our World No Tobacco Day activities, the Center will be doing an online media project to inform and engage the public on the dangers of tobacco and the tobacco industry’s tactics.  We hope that you will join us for this day of action by participating in the online dialogue on Facebook, Twitter, and of course right here on our Blog.  Become a fan of our Facebook page.  Follow us on Twitter @UNMCCRHD @MOTACOmaha and engage with us using the hashtag: #WNTD2013!

Today Marks the Beginning of LGBT Health Awareness Week

19238-57719It’s the 10th Annual LGBT Health Awareness Week (March 25-March 29, 2013)!  This week promotes the health of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender individuals and other sexual and gender minorities.  Many organizations around the country are encouraging the community to take a deeper look at tobacco use and quit smoking.

There is a higher prevalence of smoking in the LGBT community. According to a report released by the National LGBT Tobacco Control Network and the Fenway Institute in 2005, LGBT individuals are 40-70 percent more likely to smoke cigarettes than non-LGBT individuals. The same report attributes the increased use within the community to “higher levels of social stress, frequent patronage of bars and clubs, higher rates of alcohol and drug use, and direct targeting of LGBT consumers by the tobacco industry.”  A local survey conducted by the Midlands Sexual Health Research Collaborative in 2011 found that 26.2% of the sample reported smoking cigarettes everyday or some days, but nearly half of the sample (46.4%) had smoked more than 5 packs in their life. Additionally, about 1 in 5 smokers in this study reported an attempt at quitting smoking in the last 12 months.

LGBT adolescents are also of particular concern. A recent national study found that 35 percent of adolescent males and 45 percent of adolescent females who reported same-sex attraction or behavior smoked, compared with 29 percent of non-LGBT adolescents. In a 2007 study of LGBT youth, those who smoked told researchers they believe cigarettes add to a facade of toughness that decreases bullying and also act as easy ice breakers.

National LGBT Health Week is organized by the National Coalition for LGBT Health. This year’s campaign, titled “Come Out For Health,” focuses on four core principles: empowering consumers to approach their health care providers concerning their sexual orientation and gender identity; directing their providers on how to be culturally competent and sensitive to the needs of the LGBT community; creating inclusive policy making by getting people involved with government; and reaching out to a variety of communities to raise awareness about the health needs of the LGBT individuals.

For more information or to request a presentation on LGBT tobacco use and prevention initiatives in Douglas County, please contact Diana Rogel-Mendoza at (402) 559-9662 or via email at