“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek,” said President Obama given during a speech to a cheering crowd on June 4, 2005 when he was Senator. If a president of a country with all the stressors that come with the job can make a “change” by stopping smoking, anyone can! Obama’s cigarette smoking has made the news many times. This time Obama is because he stopped! He is celebrating his first year as a nonsmoker as reported by First Lady Michelle Obama. It was not easy for him. The President said he smoked every day and after he failed many times. “Once you go down that path [smoking], then it’s something you constantly struggle with,” President Obama said in a press conference on June 23, 2009 (http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0609/24029.html).

Stopping smoking is not easy. It takes a personal devotion to quit. It takes many people several times before they stop for good. Each try is a step closer to winning the addiction. You, a family member or a friend can stop smoking just like President Obama! Many African Americans say they want to make a change to be free from tobacco addiction. Tobacco use is a serious problem in the African American Community.

Each year, approximately 45,000 African Americans die from smoking-related disease. Smoking-related illnesses are the number one cause of death in the African American community, surpassing all other causes of death, including AIDS, homicide, diabetes, and accidents.

Death from smoking-caused disease is higher among African Americans than among whites, despite the fact that African Americans typically smoke less. An estimated 1.6 million black Americans alive today, who are now under the age of 18, will become regular smokers, and about 500,000 of these will die prematurely from a tobacco-related disease.

As we recognize the contributions of our President, maybe you can make healthy changes too.

• Take back your freedom from smoking and enjoy better health. Call California Smokers’ Helpline at 1-800-662-8887 (1-800-NO-BUTTS). It is a free program to help people become nonsmokers again.  One year after you stop smoking, your chances of heart disease is cut in half. The risk of stroke will be the same as someone who has never smoked.

• Show love of mankind by not smoking around other people both inside and outside. Tobacco smoke is harmful, even outside. Tobacco smoke causes asthma, ear and nose infections and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) in children and babies. In adults, it also causes the same diseases in nonsmokers as it does for the tobacco user.

• Support tobacco control causes. Do you know that tobacco taxes help African Americans to stop smoking? That cigarettes and alcohol cost more in lower income communities than higher income communities? That the tobacco companies pay-off our African American Senators, Assembly members and organizations to buy silence? Join a coalition or work group and help overcome these issues in your community.


The SOL Project, Saving Our Legacy: African Americans for smoke-free, safe places congratulates President Obama and his change to become tobacco free. SOL strongly urges all people to stop using tobacco. The SOL Project is funded by the California Tobacco Control Program and is administered by the Public Health Foundation Enterprises.

SOL works toward a smoke-free community through education, prevention and cessation and welcomes volunteers to participate on the Smoke-Free Outdoor Dining Workgroup or the Smoke-Free Regional Transit & Light rail Workgroup. For information about SOL, please visit us at www.thesolproject.com, or give us a call at 1-888-774-7685.

Press release 3.10.11
CONTACT: Twlia Laster


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