Smokeout planned for Thursday

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 17, 2004

On Thursday Nov. 18 many Americans will have the opportunity to change their lives forever. On this day the American Cancer Society will sponsor the Great American Smokeout.

The Smokeout is designed to get smokers to put down their cigarettes for one day and hopefully never pick them up again. Through the years hundreds of thousands of people have kicked the habit by participating in the program.

Stabler Clinic Manager Jerry Golden said he hopes to see a positive reaction locally.

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&uot;I think it is a great idea,&uot; Golden said. &uot;Ofcourse we would like to see a lot of people participate.&uot;

Golden said there was one major reason people should participate.

&uot;The main reason people should take part in the program is for the youth,&uot; Golden said. &uot;They do what we do. If they see us smoking they will feel like they can too.&uot;

Dr. Norman McGowin III agreed with Golden.

&uot;This is a very good program and a good opportunity for people to quit the habit,&uot; McGowin said. &uot;People can’t control their genetics, but they can control whether or not they smoke.&uot;

McGowin said the health problems associated with smoking are enough reason to put cigarettes away.

&uot;There are so many reasons smoking is detrimental to your health,&uot; said McGowin. &uot;Of course it causes heart disease and lung cancer, but there are other problems. Smoking can cause bladder cancer and a number of other problems too.&uot;

McGowin said one great thing about the smokeout is that it gives people who may not have been smoking long an easy chance to quit.

&uot;It is really good for young people,&uot; said McGowin. &uot;If you haven’t been smoking long it will be easier to quit. This gives them a good chance to stop.&uot;

Over the past few years the smokeout has been very effective. People are quitting at astonishing rates.

In 2002, a total of 45.8 million U.S. adults (22.5 percent) were current smokers, a decrease from 24.1 percent in 1998, and an estimated 46 million adults were former smokers (1). For the first time, more adults had quit smoking than were still smoking (1). To assist in continuing this trend, the American Cancer Society (ACS) is sponsoring the 28th Great American Smokeout on November 18, 2004. Cigarette smokers are encouraged to quit smoking for at least 24 hours in the hope they might stop smoking.

The likelihood of permanently quitting smoking is increased when effective therapies are used, such as physician assistance, pharmacologic treatment, and behavioral counseling (2). In addition to individual methods, an environmental approach to reducing tobacco use involves increasing the excise tax for tobacco products, developing multicomponent mass media campaigns, fostering provider reminder systems, using telephone quitlines, reducing patient out-of-pocket costs for effective cessation therapies, and reducing exposure to secondhand smoke through smoking bans and restrictions (3). Additional information about the Great American Smokeout is available at or by telephone,