The 35th annual Great American Smokeout will take place on Thursday, November 18, 2010. The purpose of the event: to challenge smokers to go smoke-free for twenty-four hours. Organizers hope that at least some of those who try to go smoke-free will decide to stop using tobacco permanently.
According to the American Cancer Society, which organizes the event, 17 million smokers across the nation take part in this event. By not smoking for 24 hours, individuals will be taking an important step towards a healthier life.
The health risks to smokers are well known and scientifically backed: cancers and pulmonary, cardiovascular, and oral disease. Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death in the United States. Secondhand smoke or environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) is also a concern; as stated in the 2006 U.S. Surgeon General’s report, there is no safe level of exposure to tobacco smoke. In children, ETS exacerbates asthma, upper respiratory infections, and otitis media. In adults, ETS is also associated with cancers and cardiovascular disease.
Nationally, and in Pierce County, adult smoking has declined. In 2008, 17.8% of adults in Pierce County smoked; in 2009, 16.9% of adults in the county smoke, approximately 102,000 individuals. Across the U.S., roughly 46 million adults smoke.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that among smokers, 70% want to quit and 40-45% have tried to quit during the previous year.
For people in Pierce County who want to stop using tobacco, several resources are available to help:
Pierce County Tobacco Cessation Support Groups
Open to anyone interested in quitting tobacco, all support groups are FREE, meet weekly (including holidays), and are highly successful. No registration is required. Drop-ins are welcome. For more information contact: Heidi Henson (253) 223-7538.
- TUESDAYS 5:30 pm – 6:30 pm, St. Anthony Hospital, 11567 Canterwood Blvd. NW, Gig Harbor
- THURSDAYS 7:00 pm- 8:00 pm, St. Joseph Medical Center, Dining Rooms 1 & 2, Tacoma