The Goal

Quit tobacco: there's help.

Objective: To increase the percentage of Alaskans who successfully quit using tobacco.

It is well documented that it takes the typical smoker up to 10 attempts before they are successful in quitting for good.

  • 71% of Alaskan adult smokers want to quit.
  • 62% of smokers made a quit attempt in the past year, compared to 45% in 1996.
  • Prevalence of daily smoking is down to 13% from 22% in 1996.
  • Almost two-thirds of Alaskans who have ever been smokers have now quit — 60% in 2009, compared to 49% in 1996.

Programs that assist both young and adult smokers to quit can produce significant health and economic benefits. Evidence-based clinical practice guidelines describe a variety of effective cessation strategies, including brief advice by medical providers to quit smoking, FDA approved pharmacotherapy (e.g., nicotine replacement therapy (NRT)) and population based cessation help lines or Quit Lines.

Systematic changes within health care organizations are critical to the broad-based success of cessation interventions. Components of a health care cessation system include implementing a system to screen patients for tobacco use, training providers in the clinical guidelines related to tobacco cessation, and offering cessation treatment services. Additionally, a comprehensive statewide cessation system needs to include reimbursement for services through all third-party payers.

Current Focus

  • Use cessation education as a platform for advocacy for statewide CIA campaign.
  • Use cessation counter-marketing as a platform for statewide CIA campaign advocacy.
  • Better support youth trying to quit.

Why Are We Doing This?


What’s in Cigarette Smoke?

  • Toxic gasses from incinerated tobacco that spread rapidly through the air.
  • Small particles that remain suspended in the air indefinitely.
  • Larger particles that settle on floors, ceilings, and walls — only to be swept into the air again.

A burning cigarette puts thousands of poisons into the air. Because smokers only take a few puffs from each cigarette, it spends over 90% of the time smoldering and generating air pollution non-smokers are forced to breathe. In fact, most of the toxic chemicals produced by cigarettes end up in the air non-smokers breathe rather than being inhaled by the smoker.


What’s in Cigarette Smoke? - Chemicals

Here are some of the chemicals you breathe in secondhand smoke:

  • Acetone, or nail polish remover
  • Ammonia, or floor/ toilet cleaner
  • Stearic acid, part of candle wax
  • Formaldehyde, which is used for preserving dead bodies

What’s in Cigarette Smoke? - Metals

Here are some of the metals you breathe in secondhand smoke:

  • Aluminum, silver, titanium, zinc and lead metal
  • Cadmium, part of batteries
  • Polonium 210, a radioactive compound

What’s in Cigarette Smoke? - Poisons

Here are some of the poisons you breathe in secondhand smoke:

  • Arsenic, or rat poison
  • Hydrogen cyanide, or gas chamber poison
  • Insecticides like DDT and Dieldrin

What’s in Cigarette Smoke? - Gases

Here are some of the gases  you breathe in secondhand smoke:

  • Carbon monoxide and butane, two types of car exhaust
  • Methane, or swamp gas
  • Methanol, or rocket fuel

What We’re Doing

  • 3rd Party Payer Campaign
  • US Surgeon General, Dr. Regina M. Benjamin, released a  report on the harmful effects of tobacco smoke, describing how direct and secondhand smoke damage cells in every single organ of the body and subsequently lead to cancer, SIDS, birth defects, other diseases and death. The report also details the biology of addiction on a molecular level, to overwhelmingly convey, as Dr. Benjamin put it, “There is no such thing as a safe cigarette.” Read more >

Alaska Quitline “Dear Me” Campaign

Kodiak, Alaska

Dear Me,

You started smoking when you were 13 because you thought it was cool...

Look at you now. No matter how hard you work, you can't afford them - physically or financially.


From Me

Anchorage, Alaska

Dear Me,

Raising --- on your own hasn't been easy. Since the day he was born, building a good life for him has been your number one priority.

But you continue to smoke. And every day he watches you slowly take your life away.

Live the life you want for your son- quit already.

Sincerely, Me

Sitka, Alaska

Dear Me,

I've smoked for over half of my life, and now half of my children smoke... a deadly habit I'm ashamed to admit I've influenced despite all of my love and devotion.

Why have I not stopped smoking when I have so many reasons to quit?

Love, Me

Dear Me,

You got a baby boy on the way now! Do you want to raise him around secondhand smoke? Do you want him to start smokin at 11 like you did? Quit smokin.

Sincerely, Me

Dear Me,

You know you're a good mom. So how could you tell --- you won't chaperone her class outing to --- because you can't smoke there? You are choosing cigarettes over your children's feelings, and they're right, it's not fair.

Love Always, Me

Dear Me,

Why haven't we quit smoking? Do you remember playing basketball? Now think of all the things you don't do with --- anymore. No ring around the rosy. No duck duck goose. No swimming. Don't you miss singing and dancing around? I know you do.

Sincerely, Me

Dear Me,

It took you a long time to love yourself again and feel blessed with your life. You cherish your health, your family and loved ones. Death has caused you so much pain. So why are you taking your life for granted?

Why are you still smoking?

Love, Me

View TV ads created for the Alaska Quitline “Dear Me” Campaign