SILVER SPRING, MD – Today, the American Nurses Association (ANA), representing the interests of the nation’s 4 million registered nurses, is calling on everyone to do their part to end tobacco and nicotine use across the country. ANA cautions consumers about tobacco use being directly linked to preventable disease and death, including respiratory illnesses. ANA calls on lawmakers to consider increased taxes on tobacco products, advises pharmacies to stop selling tobacco, and recommends health care systems provide resources to help both nurses and patients quit. These recommendations are among those included in ANA’s comprehensive position statement Prevention and Cessation of Tobacco and Other Nicotine Products.
As the nation continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, ANA is concerned over the extent to which tobacco use may exacerbate new cases of infections. Smoking is already a proven risk factor for the progression of COVID-19, making smokers susceptible to more severe outcomes.
E-cigarettes, which are often used by youth, are frequently connected to lung damage and respiratory illnesses. Prevention among young people is emphasized given research that shows that 90 percent of those addicted to tobacco products started using before age 18 and the fact that the adolescent brain is particularly vulnerable to addiction. Last year, e-cigarette use-associated lung injury caused a total of 2,807 hospitalizations. Overall, smoking accounts for more than 480,000 deaths every year. By quitting tobacco, the risk is not only lowered for getting a COVID-19 infection, but also the risk is lowered for other ailments. Studies have shown habitual tobacco use harms nearly every organ of the body.
Nurses have an essential role in the campaign against tobacco. Nurses should be tobacco-free role models to not only their patients but in their places of work, homes, and communities. They can facilitate conversations about the dangers and risks to health and advocate for the benefits of quitting. Nurses are a fundamental resource in identifying and eliminating tobacco-related disparities among youth and other populations by providing evidence-based information that is culturally sensitive and appropriate.
Visit ANA’s new webpage on tobacco cessation to find helpful resources and facts on tobacco cessation and prevention. Download ANA’s free tool on quitting tobacco and share it on social media, using the hashtags #QuitSmoking2020 and #WorldNoTobaccoDay.
About World No Tobacco Day
Each year, the World Health Organization (WHO) holds World No Tobacco Day on May 31st. The goal is to spread awareness about the risks of tobacco use and encourage action to make the world tobacco free.
About the American Nurses Association
The American Nurses Association (ANA) is the premier organization representing the interests of the nation's 4 million registered nurses. ANA advances the nursing profession by fostering high standards of nursing practice, promoting a safe and ethical work environment, bolstering the health and wellness of nurses, and advocating on health care issues that affect nurses and the public. ANA is at the forefront of improving the quality of health care for all. For more information, visit www.nursingworld.org.