By Robin G. Pilus
Maui County’s current smoking rate of 15.8 percent compares favorably to the 25 percent national rate according to a recent announcement made by the Maui Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Hawaii.
Eva Valdez, Coordinator for Maui’s Coalition for a Tobacco Free Hawaii, indicated the success had been achieved because Hawaii lawmakers have “shown strong leadership by consistently funding programs throughout the state that keeps kids from starting tobacco and and helping smokers quit.”
Twenty six Maui anti-tobacco advocates recently traveled to O’ahu to join dozens of anti-tobacco organizations from across the state at the State Capitol for Hawaii’s 8th annual Kick Butts Day.
Kick Butts Day is a national event for communities to take action against the tobacco industry. This year youth advocates held a “share the love” rally to motivate lawmakers to take action against “Big Tobacco” marketing tactics targeting youth.
Many of Hawaii’s tobacco control initiatives are funded through the Hawai’i Tobacco Prevention and Control Trust fund. This fund supports programs including the Community Clinic of Maui, Inc’s Tobacco Cessation Project, the Maui Youth and Family Service’s “Towards No Tobacco” program as well as the statewide Tobacco Quitline. The Quitline has received more than 21,000 calls from individuals requesting telephone assistance related to tobacco cessation since the Quitline was established in 2005.
Contact the Coalition for a Tobacco Free Hawaii for more information related to the organization or for smoking cessation resources.