Nicotine quitline back in action in New Mexico
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – 60 years ago Wednesday, the U.S. surgeon general released the first report on the dangers of smoking and tobacco. It was a major turning point and led to two federal laws requiring health warnings on cigarette packs.
Six decades later, are New Mexicans listening to those warnings?
“We have come quite a bit, a long ways definitely from the first general report out in 1964,” said NMDOH program manager Ester Hoang.
Though we have come a long way as a state in kicking the habit, Hoang says the problem has shifted to younger people because more and more of them are vaping.
“For the use of cigarettes within the past 30 days, we’ve seen a decline of adult use down to 13%. For youth, it is down to 4%. However, that increase in e-cigarette use has gone up to 25% as of 2021,” said Hoang.
In a historic win for the state for the first time, e-cigarettes and tobacco products are banned from public schools because of a new state ordinance.
“This is a long time coming for us, and it’s definitely a victory,” Hoang said. “We understand that with a lot of the students, they’re using the e-cigarette as a mechanism, as a vehicle to not only use the e-liquid, but also use of marijuana, fentanyl, and other hard drugs within that. So with that we’re hoping to decrease the use of not only nicotine use, but also other substances on campus.”
Another resource New Mexicans have to quit smoking is a hotline: 1-800-QUIT-NOW. This hotline helps people quit smoking with things like patches or gum.
If you called last year, you were turned away and were told it was because of a budget shortfall.
Now, that service is back after the Department of Health received $910,000 in funding.
“Folks can also access the quitline services via web and that is through quit now in m.com,” said Hoang.
Progress that Hoang says is within reach.
“We’re hoping to decrease that later when the youth become adults that they don’t have a significant impact on it,” Hoang said.