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!



Do you know this about mental health?

Mental illness doesn’t go away in bad economic times—neither should funding for mental health care.

  • One veteran dies by suicide approximately every 80 min.
  • Six in ten adults who need mental health services don’t get treatment.
  • Three-quarters of serious mental illness occurs by age 24. Screening and early intervention improves lives and helps families.
  • People living with mental illness are overrepresented in jails and prisons. End the criminalization of mental illness.
  • Mental health treatment works, but many aren’t getting care they need. Access is part of the solution.  Covering mental health saves lives and saves families money.
  • Mental health services need to be there when people need them. It’s an investment in our families and our communities.
  • Over 50% of students with a mental disorder over 14 drop out of school. Early intervention can save lives.

Throughout the month of July, we encourage you to learn more about mental health issues and what you can do.  If you would like to get more involved in activities this month, contact Center staff member, Antonia Correa, at (402) 559-3670 or via email at:

Talk about it.  Leave us a comment, Facebook us, or Tweet us @UNMCCRHD using the hashtag: #MinorityMentalHealth and #vote4mentalhealth.

Source: National Alliance on Mental Illness,


Improve Your Health in 2012

It’s new year’s resolution time again and here are some tips on improving your health in 2012.

1.  Manage stress better.

Stress can kill.  The first step in successful stress management is identifying your stress triggers. According to the Mayo Clinic, “Some causes of stress are obvious — job pressures, relationship problems or financial difficulties. But daily hassles and demands, such as commuting, arranging day care or being overcommitted at work, can also contribute to your stress level. Positive events also can be stressful. If you got married, started a new job and bought a new house in the same year, you could have a high stress level. While negative events in general are more stressful, be sure to also assess positive changes in your life.”  When you have identified your stress triggers, you can brainstorm strategies for dealing with them including using relaxation techniques. Practicing relaxation techniques can reduce stress symptoms by:

  • Slowing your heart rate
  • Lowering blood pressure
  • Slowing your breathing rate
  • Increasing blood flow to major muscles
  • Reducing muscle tension and chronic pain
  • Improving concentration
  • Reducing anger and frustration
  • Boosting confidence to handle problems

To get the most benefit, use relaxation techniques along with other coping methods, such as exercising, getting enough sleep, and reaching out to supportive family and friends.

2.  Eat more fruits and vegetables.

According to, half of your plate at every meal should consist of fruits and vegetables.  Choose red, orange, and dark-green vegetables like tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and broccoli, along with other vegetables for your meals. Add fruit to meals as part of main or side dishes or as dessert.

3. Get enough sleep.

Research shows that you’re more likely to succeed at your tasks—and enjoy greater well-being—if you get some serious shuteye.  Experts suggest that adults get seven to nine hours of sleep a night.  Below are some tips from the National Sleep Foundation:

  • Set a regular bedtime. Your body craves consistency, plus you’re more likely to get enough sleep if you schedule rest like your other important tasks.
  • De-caffeinate yourself. Drinking caffeine to stay awake during the day can keep you up at night. Try resisting the coffee and colas starting six to eight hours before bed.
  • De-stress yourself. Relax by taking a hot bath, meditating or envisioning a soothing scene while lying in bed. Turn off daytime worries by finishing any next-day preparations about an hour before bed.
  • Exercise. Working out can improve sleep in lots of ways, including by relieving muscle tension. Don’t work out right before bed, though, since exercise may make you more alert. If you like, try gentle upper-body stretches to help transition into sleep.
  • Make your bed a sleep haven. No paying bills or writing reports in bed. Also, if you can’t fall asleep after 15 minutes you can try some soothing music, but if you remain alert experts recommend getting up until you feel more tired.

4.  Get active.  Watch less TV and surf less internet.

Adults should do 2 hours and 30 minutes a week of moderate-intensity, or 1 hour and 15 minutes (75 minutes) a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity, or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity. Aerobic activity should be performed in episodes of at least 10 minutes, preferably spread throughout the week.

5.  Stop smoking.

Smoking takes years off of your life and is bad for not just the smoker, but all those around the smoker.  For assistance quitting smoking, call 1-800-QUIT-NOW or our Center offers smoking cessation counseling for those who need additional assistance.  Contact us at (402) 559-9660. Check out the new smoke-free counter and calculator at:!/SmokeFreeNE.