Great American Smokeout
A special event titled “Popcorn for a Puff” will open Kenner Army Health Clinic’s observance of the 46th Great American Smokeout campaign. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army Photo) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT LEE, Va. – A special event titled “Popcorn for a Puff” will open Kenner Army Health Clinic’s observance of the 46th Great American Smokeout campaign.

The activity will take place over two days – Nov. 17 from 1:30-3:30 p.m., and Nov. 18 from 9:30-11 a.m. – in the Kenner Pharmacy area. Team Lee participants can gather information about the health effects of tobacco usage and the cessation resources available to them while enjoying a fresh serving of delicious popcorn.

“Tobacco use in the military is a high-profile issue because it has a direct impact upon a person’s ability to accomplish their mission,” emphasized Aleisha K. Manson, Army Public Health Nurse at Kenner. “Because of the negative effects on health, it becomes a matter of readiness and resiliency. Thus, we are committed to decreasing the use of tobacco products through education, counseling and medical therapy. The ultimate goal is helping community members live tobacco-free.”

According to the American Cancer Society, cigarette smoking is responsible for more than 480,000 deaths per year in the U.S. Of those, more than 41,000 die from health complications attributed to secondhand smoke exposure. Looking at it from a different perspective, tobacco usage causes one-in-five deaths annually or 1,300 deaths every day.

Preventable health complications from smoking include cancer, heart disease, stroke, lung diseases, diabetes and chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases such as emphysema and bronchitis. Individuals who chew tobacco or use alternatives like vaping also are subject to these maladies.

While cigarette-smoking rates have dropped from 42.6 percent in 1965 to 13.7 percent in 2018, it still means about 34.1 million Americans are still “hooked” on nicotine, which is one of the strongest and most deadly addictions one can have. Each year about 1.3 million smokers do quit. Since 1965, more than 40 percent of all adults who have ever smoked have quit. Research also shows that with good smoking cessation programs, 20-to-40 percent of participants are able to quit smoking and stay off cigarettes for at least one year.

Quitting is hard. It takes commitment and starts with a well-considered plan. Many encounter setbacks, meaning more than one attempt to quit. For most, a proven key to success is lots of support and plenty of it is available including the smoking cessation programs offered at Kenner, telephone quit lines, Nicotine Anonymous meetings, self-help materials such as books and pamphlets, and smoking counselors or coaches. It is a proven fact that getting help through counseling and/or prescription medications can double or triple the chances of kicking the habit.

Committing or recommitting to healthy, tobacco-free lives is the overall goal of the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout. Individuals who are already living smoke-free can play a part by sharing information and encouraging those around them who use nicotine products to consider quitting. Pick up a flyer and post it in your work area. Pass along tobacco-cessation program details to subordinates and coworkers. Simply show that we care about this issue as a community.

More information is available at cancer.org/smokeout. Team Lee members can call the KAHC Health Promotion department at 804-734-9304 to learn more about the tobacco cessation programs offered here. The Army Wellness Center is another good resource available to all DOD ID cardholders. To make an appointment for a consultation, call 804-734-9925.