HONOLULU -- (November 15, 2017) According to the World Health Organization (WHO), each year 6 million people die from smoking-related causes. Tobacco users interviewed by the WHO claim that they've attempted to quit more than once. Unfortunately, many do not quit on their attempts. This is why the Great American Smokeout is magnificent.

The American Cancer Society states that the first Great American Smokeout occurred in 1976. The California division of the American Cancer Society got nearly 1 million smokers to quit for the day. In 1977, the Great American Smokeout went nationwide and helped change the public's view on tobacco advertisement and use. In the late 1980s and 1990s, many state and local governments began to ban smoking in workplaces and restaurants and raised the taxes on cigarettes to limit its promotion.

The Great American Smokeout occurs every year on the third Thursday in the month of November. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the "Smokeout" is a day set to encourage the 36.5 million smokers to quit smoking. The "Smokeout" reminds the public of the harmful effects that smoking can do and provides helpful tips on how to quit.

Capt. Everline Atandi, a public health nurse at Tripler Army Medical Center, also known as TAMC, states that smoking can and will lead to death, bad breath, and decreased oxygen for muscle function, male impotence, and loss of sexual desire. As well as, many types of cancers such as lung, cervical, uterine, renal and bladder, esophagus, mouth, and many other diseases of the circulatory and respiratory systems.

An Army Public Health Nurse at Schofield Barracks, Naomi Kirkwood, believes that smokers who quit smoking will save a large amount of money.

"Not only are there many health benefits such as better lung function and decreased risks of cancer when a soldier quits smoking," Kirkwood said, "a soldier can also save about $3,200 a year."

Quitting smoking is beneficial to health and finances, so smokers who want to quit should partake on the Great American Smokeout. TAMC and Fort Shafter will team up together to hold a "Smokeout" on Nov.16 on Fort Shafter at the Post Exchange (PX) front entrance. It challenges all tobacco users to plan to stop using tobacco for 24 hours and offers steps and tools to quit for good.

If you smoke, pledge to quit. If you do not smoke, help someone else quit.

Atandi recommends to smokers who want to quit:

1. Set a quit date
2. Get rid of all cigarettes
3. Find alternatives, i.e., chew gum or drink water
4. Pay attention to be able to identify your craving times and come up with strategies to avoid them
5. Have an exercise plan which will help improve health and minimize cravings
6. Find a support group

To help smokers quit and prevent relapse, make an appointment with the Army Wellness Center at Schofield Barracks and take advantage of the great programs and support groups, call 808-655-1866. Call your primary care physician at TAMC for a referral to help you quit smoking, or to help someone else quit smoking, or visit https://tricare.mil/ucanquit2.