U.S. Office of Smoking and Health (OSH) Director Dr. Corinne Graffunder designated 2019 the “Year of Cessation” during a meeting Nov. 7 with national partners in Atlanta. Graffunder unveiled OSH’s new strategic plan indicating that each quarter will feature significant events and efforts to help people quit tobacco use.
One opportunity builds upon the success of CDC’s Tips From Former Smokers® (Tips®) campaign, tailoring Tips® videos and materials to fit the needs of health-care specialties (such as pharmacists). This might include videos for providers, highlighting specific tobacco-related health conditions. Graffunder said OSH actively engages in partnerships with health-care providers and community-support networks to help people quit tobacco products, and hopes to expand such partnerships throughout 2019.
“Our plan is ambitious but doable,” Graffunder said. “By design, the plan is intended to represent opportunities where OSH can play a part. But we can’t do it alone. We need partners.”
OSH hopes to extend the reach of partners from the behavioral health community, tribal nations, the LGBTQ community and other groups with high smoking prevalence. “We know we have populations for whom we have to do a better job to help them quit,” Graffunder said.
Other strategies won’t change—OSH plans to emphasize quit attempts in January as part of New Years’ Resolutions and new TV ads from the Tips® campaign are expected in the spring.
Graffunder realizes people don’t quit in a vacuum, so part of the strategic plan is fostering environments that support and reinforce quitting smoking. This includes eliminating exposure to second-hand smoke across the nation and continued efforts to prevent kids from getting hooked on tobacco products.
“We’re excited about future partnerships, resources and opportunities the Office of Smoking and Health is making available for the Year of Cessation,” said UW-CTRI Director Dr. Michael Fiore, who attended the meetings.
“The Year of Cessation will allow us to develop a set of actions in 2019 that will get the ball going and elevate the visibility that tobacco cessation continues to be important,” Graffunder said. “Smokers need better support and better access to that support.”