The NC Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) is hosting a livestream – an event it’s calling a “fireside chat and tele-town hall” – on Thursday, Nov. 2, from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. in order to discuss how people can get help quitting smoking, vaping or using tobacco – as well as other ways they can care for their health and manage stress.

The panel includes some impressive presenters, such as Dr. Vickie Fowler, a family medicine specialist for WakeMed; Stephanie Gans, a tobacco treatment specialist for NCDHHS; and  Dr. Madeline Wright, a clinical pharmacist with the Cherokee Indian Hospital Authority.

According to state health officials, tobacco use is the number one preventable cause of death and disease in North Carolina. Smoking, in particular, is very risky since it can be a factor for lung cancer.  Roughly 80 percent of all lung cancer is linked to  cigarette smoking.

Also, people who smoke are at higher risk of severe illness from respiratory viruses such as the flu and COVID-19.

Some communities in the state are more likely than other to have a problem finding help.

“Several populations across the state,” the announcement for the livestream notes, “including American Indian communities, face greater barriers to access care and support to quit commercial tobacco use. More than one in four American Indian adults in North Carolina smoke — a rate more than 1.5 times greater than for white, non-Hispanic adults.”

The fireside chat and tele-town hall panelists will discuss the following:

• Resources and support to help quit or limit the use of tobacco products

• Ways to reduce stress and improve mental health

• Information on treatments to help quit tobacco and how to access them

• The importance of preventative screenings, including for lung cancer

The fireside chat will stream live from the NCDHHS Facebook, Twitter and YouTube accounts, where viewers will be able to submit their questions.

People can also phone in to listen and submit questions. Those interested should dial in by calling 855-756-7520 Ext. 95267#.