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Sometimes quitters DO win: Great American Smokeout encourages quitting tobacco use

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Daniel Garcia
  • 375th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

The 375th Aerospace Medicine Squadron’s Health Promotion Clinic will recognize the 37th Annual Great American Smokeout (GASO) Nov. 21, 2019, by encouraging smokers to quit ahead of, or on that day and take an important step towards a healthier life – one that can reduce the risk of cancer.

For more than 40 years, the American Cancer Society has hosted the event on the third Thursday of November. On July 1, 2019, Illinois became the first state in the Midwest to increase the legal age for purchasing tobacco to 21, joining California, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon, and Virginia.

“It is an opportunity for people who smoke to come together and commit to healthy and smoke-free lives, not just for a day, but year-round,” said Heather Braundmeier, 375th Medical Group health promotion coordinator. “The event has helped dramatically change Americans’ attitudes about smoking. These changes have led to community programs and smoke-free laws that are now saving lives across the country.”

Although the rate has declined, almost 38 million Americans are still smoking cigarettes. Each year, more than 480,000 people in the country die from illnesses caused by smoking, such as cancer of the larynx, mouth, sinuses, pharynx, esophagus and bladder.

“People who quit smoking live longer lives than those who continue to smoke,” said Braundmeier. “The argument that it is too late to quit smoking because the damage is already done is untrue. Join the GASO the third Thursday of November.”

Today, a pack of cigarettes costs approximately $6 per pack depending on location and taxes. If someone smokes a pack a day, the annual expenditure on cigarettes is $2,190, not including the costs in terms of adverse health effects.

Quitting tobacco offers benefits right away, as well as benefits that develop over time and can improve day-to-day life. Immediate results include fresher breath, whiter teeth, hair and clothes smelling better, and even food tasting better.

“Your medical staff here at Scott fully appreciates the challenges that accompany a tobacco user’s attempt to quit and is fully committed to helping you to stop using one of the most addictive substances in widespread use today,” said Braundmeier.

Contact the health promotion staff at 256-7139 for more information or consult your primary care manager.

If you would like the Health Promotion staff to visit your unit for on-site education and intervention, or to set-up a table that remains in place for the rest of the month, reach out to Braundmeier directly at 256-7007.