Be a quitter during the Great American Smoke Out!
November 22, 2013
Fort Leonard Wood, Mo. -- Every year the American Cancer Society sets the third Thursday of November aside to encourage tobacco users to quit smoking, or to make a plan to quit smoking.
This year's Great American Smoke Out is being observed today, Thursday, Nov. 21.
By quitting -- even for one day -- tobacco users can take a step toward a healthier life. This observance also challenges people to begin a tobacco free life, even if it just lasts one day.
The Great American Smoke Out began in 1970 when Arthur P. Mullarey asked those from Randolph, Mass, to give up cigarettes for one day and donate the money they saved to a high school scholarship fund.
In 1974, Lynn R. Smith, a newspaper editor, started Minnesota's first "Don't Smoke Day." More states joined in, and in 1976 the California division of the American Cancer Society had almost 1 million smokers quit for a day.
Finally, in 1977, the event went nationwide and was called the Great American Smoke Out.
Because of campaigns like this, the national smoking rate in adults over 18 has decreased from 42 to 18 percent.
However, even though smoking rates have decreased, smoking is still responsible for nearly 1 in 3 cancer related deaths, and 8.6 million people live with a serious illness caused by smoking, according to the American Cancer Society.
Stop by the Community Health Resource Center's information booth set up in the hospital lobby today, play Tobacco Jeopardy, and learn some interesting facts like these:
• Twenty minutes after quitting, your heart rate decreases.
• Twelve hours after quitting, your blood carbon monoxide level drops.
If you're a smoker, today could be the first day of a tobacco free life for you!
So, "Butt Out" and join millions in saying "no thanks" to tobacco for 24 hours.
(Editor's Note: Leslie Teague is a clinical pharmacist at the General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital)