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App District Health Department: Today is Great American Smokeout Day, Give Up Tobacco For Good

Nov. 21, 2013. The Great American Smokeout takes place Thursday, Nov. 21.  The American Cancer Society has dedicated this day to encourage smokers to give up tobacco for at least one day, and to help smokers think about quitting for good.

Great American SmokeoutTobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of death and disease in the United States. According to the 2010 U.S. Surgeon General’s report, approximately 443,000 U.S. adults, or the total population of Ashe, Alleghany, Watauga, Wilkes, Surry, Stokes, Yadkin and Davie counties combined, die from smoking-related illnesses each year. In addition, smoking has been estimated to cost the United States $96 billion in direct medical expenses and $97 billion in lost productivity annually (CDC).

Today people have a good understanding of the harms caused by cigarette smoking. Smokers have a high risk of developing lung cancer and many other types of cancer. Diseases such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and asthma are made worse by tobacco smoke. Smokers are 2 to 4 times more likely to develop heart disease, and 2 times more likely to have a stroke when compared to non-smokers.

There was a time when most Americans were unaware that cigarette smoking caused disease and early death. January 11th will be the 50th anniversary of the first U.S. Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health.  In 1964 nearly half of American adults smoked, and there had been very little public education around the dangers of smoking. Many Americans put their cigarettes down as a result of the report. The report showed a direct link between smoking and lung cancer for the first time and a likely contributor to heart disease.

The NC Tobacco Prevention and Control Branch is interested in talking to people who quit smoking in 1964 as a result of the Surgeon General’s Report. Did you quit smoking when the news came out 50 years ago? Do you or someone you know have other strong memories of that report and what it meant to you and your family?  Please send an email to [email protected] or call (828) 264-4995 and share your story.

One out of five North Carolina adults still smokes cigarettes. If you are smoking or using other tobacco products, there has never been a better time to quit. Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-785-8669), any day, any time, and get free, effective telephone or online help to quit forever.

For more information on the GASO, please visit American Cancer Society’s website http://www.cancer.org/healthy/stayawayfromtobacco/greatamericansmokeout/index

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