Coalition joins worldwide stop-smoking effort


Canadian County’s anti-smoking coalition has gone international in its efforts to help residents become tobacco-free.

Canadian County Against Tobacco partnered with Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust and Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline to support World No Tobacco Day, set for May 31.

“World No Tobacco Day is an annual day of awareness sponsored by the World Health Organization that highlights the health risks associated with tobacco use in order to end the tobacco epidemic for good,” said Jenny Kellbach, Canadian County Health Department tobacco prevention coordinator.

According to Centers for Disease Control and state health department figures, smoking directly or indirectly is part of diseases suffered by 16 million people across the country. In Oklahoma, more than 6,200 adults die each year as a result of smoking – their own or someone close to them.

“Tobacco kills more people than drugs, alcohol, AIDS, car crashes, homicides and suicides combined,” coalition member Karen McKeever said. “But it isn’t just about the numbers of loved ones we’ve lost – it is also about illnesses, disability and reduced quality of life due to smoking.

“It is about missing a daughter’s wedding, a grandchild’s first steps or even your own wedding anniversary,” she said. “World No Tobacco Day provides an opportunity to take back those special moments by setting a quit date on May 31 and quitting for life.”

CDC official said reducing smoking worldwide by 20 to 25 percent could translate to 100 million premature deaths by 2020.

“If the current trends of smoking continue, approximately 8 million people worldwide will die each year from tobacco use by 2030,” Kellbach said.

Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline offers free quit coaching for all Oklahomans throughout the year, Kellbach said. Since 2003, the helpline has helped more than 250,000 Oklahomans stop smoking, she said.

“The Helpline offers free services, including ‘quit coaching,’ a customized plan to help quit, online support and a free starter kit of patches, gum or lozenges,” she said.

To contact Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline, call 1-800-QUIT NOW (1-800-784-8669) or visit For more information about Canadian County Against Tobacco, contact Kellbach at (405) 422-6447.