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Health, Science and Technology

Decreasing Smoking, Saving Lives, Saving Money

Broadcast date: 3/12/2015

Tobacco use is the single most preventable cause of disease, disability, and death in the United States. Not only does it take a toll on health, but the monetary cost of smoking is heavy in California as well. 

In 2004 the smoking-related health care costs were estimated to be $18.1 billion in California alone. While statistics for tobacco use are far lower on the Central Coast than they are nationally, the decrease in usage in San Luis Obispo County has plateaued since dropping to 9 percent in 2006. Although comprehensive, well-funded state programs that prevent kids from smoking and help smokers quit are proven to save lives and money, youth smoking continues to be a problem with local smoking rates remaining at or above the state average.

As tobacco continues to take a deadly toll on our state, causing more than 36,000 deaths in California each year, how can local communities jump start the decline in tobacco use and in doing so help save lives and money? Although local programs continue strong efforts in tobacco prevention education and policy intervention, is it enough? Research shows that for every 10 percent increase in the price of cigarettes, consumption is reduced by about 4 percent among adults and about 7 percent among youth. Is increasing the price of tobacco the answer for California and our local communities?

Join host Fred Munroe as he speaks with guests from the San Luis Obispo Tobacco Control Program Kitty Farhar, CHES and Certified Tobacco Treatment Specialist, and Melissa Peters, Health Education Specialist, as well as Dawn M. Dunn, MPH, the Coordinator with the Santa Barbara County Tobacco Prevention Settlement Program as they discuss how communities can work together to decrease tobacco-related diseases and deaths on the Central Coast and resources available for those who want to quit.

Central Coast Voices is sponsored by ACTION for Healthy Communities in collaboration with KCBX and made possible through underwriting by Joan Gellert-Sargen.