Reduce Tobacco Use and Associated Conditions in WV – May 2016, a strategic plan developed by the West Virginia Division of Tobacco Prevention, states the Mountain State has the highest reported adult smoking rate in America. Some 26.7% of adults are current smokers, meaning they smoke every day or some days. The national smoking rate at the time of the report was 17.4% according to the 2014 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System.
As a result of a partnership my team and I have with Greg Puckett, the Executive Director of Community Connections, we are using resources from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Tips from Former Smokers® campaign to further a rural-based public health campaign he started in 2009. Puckett uses barns as a culturally competent and historically significant medium to deliver healthful messages aiming to change health behaviors, specifically promote tobacco cessation among West Virginians. We have taken real and relevant stories from Tips® participants’ journey to achieve successful tobacco cessation and delivered them in a locally culturally competent way.
The results of our efforts are measured through call volume recorded by the state’s tobacco quitline (800) QUIT-NOW, where trained quit coaches document how callers hear about the free, evidence-based, and confidential tobacco cessation services they receive. Given each of Puckett’s barns are located along major highways in West Virginia, we also consult the West Virginia Department of Transportation for an estimates of the annual average daily traffic. This metric serves as the number of impressions each barn receives, quantifying the average number of motorists traversing the highway on an given day.
Watch the video below showcasing our public health intervention in Pocahontas County, West Virginia.
I am committed to a person who loves me for who I am. He and I have two dogs. Cascadia is home for us. I know for sure no one makes it alone; bootstrapping is a cliched dog whistle. I surround myself with truth tellers. I am healthy and grateful for what I have (on most days). I wholeheartedly believe reading gives us super powers. Vote. Exercise. Eat Healthily. Sleep Soundly.