The Arkansas Cancer Coalition and Wells Bayou Youth Development Inc. are working to raise awareness of the dangerous health effects of tobacco use and to encourage Jefferson County residents to quit tobacco during Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month in March.

Tobacco users can call the Arkansas Tobacco Quitline to receive free counseling and medication to help them quit, according to a news release.

“According to the Arkansas Department of Health, colorectal cancer is the second most common cancer in both men and women. In Arkansas, approximately 1,400 new cases and 600 deaths are expected each year from colorectal cancer,” according to a news release.

Ermer J. Preston is director of the WBYD.

“What is disturbing is that some rural counties have a higher colorectal cancer death rate than the state,” Preston said. “Additionally, the burden of colorectal cancer is especially high in males and African Americans in Arkansas. We want to spur our community to take action.”

According to the release, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that the overall mortality among both male and female smokers in the U.S. is about three times higher than that among similar people who never smoked.

“The Arkansas Cancer Coalition’s mission is to facilitate and provide partnerships to reduce the human suffering and economic burden from cancer for the citizens of Arkansas. The coalition provides an overview of the current status of cancer control in Arkansas, maintains a plan of cancer control goals and strategies, and improves the quality of life for those persons affected by cancer,” according to the release.

Details: or 501-404-2363.

“Wells Bayou Youth Development along with other partners in the public health system emphasize the importance of community-based organizations and the valuable roles they play in reducing health disparities in underserved areas,” according to the release.

For help to quit smoking, call 1-800-QUIT-NOW. To contact WBYD, call 870-263-1111, visit or Facebook.