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Quit smoking in November during the Great American Smokeout

When: Nov. 17

What: Every day, people are diagnosed with heart disease, cancer and other serious illnesses. One possible factor in their diagnosis: smoking. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), smoking can cause cancer, heart disease, strokes and lung disease. Cigarettes and secondhand smoke can be detrimental to a person’s health and can lead to any number of health problems. On Nov. 17, the American Cancer Society (ACS) encourages people to quit smoking during the Great American Smokeout.

Background: In 1976, the California division of the ACS challenged people to quit smoking for one day. The challenge prompted nearly one million smokers to quit the habit.  Each year across the U.S., smokers are encouraged to quit or develop a plan to quit. The Smokeout is now celebrated with parties, rallies and parades. The ACS sponsors this event as a way to teach people about the dangers of smoking and to encourage them to keep their health and do away with the risky habit of smoking.

Story Pitch: There are a great number of groups and organizations that can take advantage of the Great American Smokeout. Health care professionals can support the day by stressing the importance of healthy living and breathing clean air. Visual aids may be provided to promote the risk of smoking on a patient’s lungs. Schools and educational institutions are able to use the day to target the younger crowd, addressing the risk of smoking and secondhand smoke on a person’s life. They may also help students find ways to encourage their parents to quit smoking. Community fire departments can also use the day to not only promote awareness on the dangers of smoking, but also to promote awareness on the dangers of cigarettes and their ability to cause fires. Hospitals can take advantage of the event by staging clean air gatherings, highlighting how cigarette smoke affects your life.

Story Hook: According the CDC, cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, accounting for 1 in 5 deaths each year. How can smoking be discouraged? What are some ways to promote clean breathing? Also consider the following when you make your pitch:

  • What are some ways a person can quit smoking?
  • What are the effects of secondhand smoke on a person?
  • How can younger people be discouraged to smoke?
  • How many smoking-related fires have happened in the past year?

Tips: Be sure to provide contact information for health care professionals who can discuss the dangers of smoking and the advantages of quitting. In addition, provide contact information for people who have quit smoking, both cold turkey and through other means, to provide insight on how to quit smoking successfully.

Resources:

American Cancer Society
(800) 227-2345
www.cancer.org

American Lung Association
(510) 638-5864
www.lungusa.org

Center for Disease Control and Prevention
(800) 232-4636
cdcinfo(at)cdc.gov
www.cdc.gov

Smoking Cessation Leadership Center
(415) 502-4175
http://smokingcessationleadership.ucsf.edu

–Researched, compiled & written by Kimberly Cooper
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