Arkansas Gets Low Scores In Tobacco Death Study

A new study shows Arkansas is lacking prevention in tobacco-related illness and death.

The Lung Association’s “State of Tobacco Control 2014” tracked Arkansas’s progress on a report card, with the scores shown as the following:

Tobacco Prevention and Control Program Funding: D

Smoke Free Air: B

Cigarette Tax: D

Cessation Coverage: F

Kevin Edwards is from Fort Smith and started smoking 12 years ago.

‘”It’s the worst thing I’ve ever done,” he said.

Leann Karnes is a director of rehabilitation at Summit Medical Center in Van Buren.

“We have a pulmonary rehabilitation program we are working on getting going,” said Karnes.

Karnes said the scores are alarming.

“I really am surprised, because we all know and have been told for a long time that smoking is bad for us,” she said.

Edwards said he’s tried kicking the habit multiple times.

“I’ve tried quitting several times,” he said, “It’s very, very hard.”

However, Karnes said it’s never too late to go cold turkey.

“For our pulmonary rehabilitation program, we focus on exercise, also nutritional counseling, education, smoking cessation. Assistance with that is one of our main focuses,” she said.

The report also said tobacco causes almost 5,000 deaths in Arkansas each year.

Summit Medical Center in Van Buren will host a free Sandwich Seminar discussing pulmonary rehabilitation from noon to 1 p.m. Feb. 25 at Outpatient Therapy Services located behind the hospital.

Participants struggling with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) or other smoking-related illnesses will learn treatment and physical therapy options to help with their recovery and regain lung function.  Call (479) 709-DOCS to register.


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