A major insurance company, the American College of Cardiology, is backing a new campaign to encourage smokers to quit.
The new campaign, which will launch this week, calls on smokers to take steps to cut down on their cigarettes, especially by avoiding secondhand smoke.
The campaign comes at a time when American health care costs are rising as more Americans start to smoke.
Last year, the average American spent $2,300 on medical care each year, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation study.
The American Heart Assn., which oversees health insurance plans, said the new campaign will include the health organizations’ own advice to smokers about quitting.
The Heart Assns’ campaign focuses on the health effects of smoking.
According to the American Cancer Society, about 80 percent of Americans smoke.
It says that smoking kills more people than car crashes, heart attacks and stroke combined.
Last month, a study showed that people who smoke are more likely to have chronic health problems.
The Associated Press is working to identify and report more stories on health issues that affect people of color.