The Great American Smokeout

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52 Weeks of Public Health Campaign Spotlight: Kentucky QuitNow

 FRANKFORT – Today, Nov. 16, is the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout. As part of the 52 Weeks of Public Health Campaign, the Kentucky Department for Public Health within the Cabinet for Health and Family Services is raising awareness about lung cancer in Kentucky.

Lung cancer impacts Kentuckians more than any other cancer. In Kentucky, both men and women have significantly higher rates of lung cancer than other state in the U.S. More Kentuckians have died from lung cancer than all of the next seven leading causes of cancer death combined.

Smoking tobacco is the main contributor to Kentucky’s high lung cancer rates. Kentucky has the second highest smoking rate in the nation with 1 out of every 4 adults in Kentuckians smokes. 

“Smoking tobacco is an addiction, and those who want to quit can get help,” said Brian Boisseau, cancer program manager for the DPH Chronic Disease Prevention Branch. “People who want to quit smoking can receive help through Kentucky Quit Now, a free, statewide telephone-based tobacco cessation resource.”

Tobacco smoke is not the only risk factor for lung cancer. Radon, an odorless, colorless gas, is found in almost half of all Kentucky homes according to the Kentucky Radon Program. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer. DPH provides free home radon test kits through the Kentucky Radon Program. Test kits may also be purchased at most home improvement stores.

Although reducing risk factors is the first line of defense to prevent lung cancer, new screening criteria recommended by the United States Preventive Services Task Force can help doctors find lung cancer before there are symptoms. A new test called low-dose computed tomography (CT) scan has been proven to find lung cancer early, when treatment has proven to be the most effective. If you are between ages 55 and 80 years and currently smoke or quit within the last 15 years, talk to your doctor or healthcare provider about whether you should get screened for lung cancer.