Great American Smokeout Highlights Declining Smoking Rate In Hidalgo County

When it comes to smoking, it’s ok to be a quitter. Between 2013 and 2017, the adult smoking rate in Hidalgo County fell from 12.9% to 9.7%, one of the lowest in the state of Texas. This year’s Great American Smokeout saw 40 Quit-line referrals across 15 participating locations, a small drop from last year but a sign of the declining number of smokers.

Every year, the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout takes place the third Thursday of November. The nationwide campaign urges smokers to quit, make a plan to quit, or encourage others to quit smoking. Quitting for just one day is an important first step in living a healthier life—and reducing cancer risk.

Tobacco use remains the number one preventable cause of death in the United States. Smoking cigarettes causes more than 127,000 deaths from lung cancer each year in U.S. men and women, accounting for more than 80% of all lung cancer deaths in the U.S. “For every person who dies from a smoking-related disease, 20 others suffer at least one serious illness from smoking,” said Richard C. Wender, M.D., Chief Cancer Control Officer for the American Cancer Society. “We hope the Great American Smokeout continues to have an impact, helping smokers realize they can add up to a decade onto their life by quitting now.”

The Hidalgo County Tobacco Prevention & Control Coalition partnered with the American Cancer Society, local healthcare providers, and other community partners to bring awareness to this annual event and to encourage the public to participate. Each participating location handed out information on how to plan your quit day, how to quit immediately, and how to be referred to the Texas QuitLine to receive free tobacco cessation counseling and nicotine replacement therapy.

The Hidalgo County TPCC is a coalition effort of Behavioral Health Solutions of South Texas, located in Pharr. The Coalition was established to empower Hidalgo County to affect individual and social change through cooperation, sharing and coordination of resources focused on preventing and reducing the illegal and harmful use of tobacco products.

The TPCC’s goals are to prevent tobacco use among young people, promote compliance and support adequate enforcement of federal, state and local tobacco laws, increase cessation among young people and adults, eliminate exposure to secondhand smoke, reduce tobacco use among populations with the highest burden of tobacco-related health disparities, develop and maintain statewide capacity for comprehensive tobacco prevention and control.

If you would like more information about the Coalition and/or volunteer opportunities, please contact Yolanda Guzman at 956-787-0004, ext. 19 or email Follow/Like the TPCC on Facebook ( and Twitter/Instagram (@unidad_tpcc) for the most current news on Coalition events and activities, as well as local, state, national, and worldwide trends on tobacco enforcement and surveillance.

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