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No butts about it: Great American Smokeout is Nov. 18

By November 2, 2010

The National Great American Smokeout, which asks smokers to give up tobacco for 24 hours in hopes that they will quit for good, will be held on Thursday, Nov. 18 this year.

“We are encouraging anyone in El Dorado County who currently smokes to participate in the Great American Smokeout,” said Christy Kessler, supervising health education coordinator for the El Dorado County Tobacco Use Prevention Program. “The campaign provides a wonderful way for smokers to support one another in quitting.”

Smoking cigarettes remains the number one preventable cause of premature disease and death in the United States according the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. An estimated 21 percent of Americans and 14 percent of Californians are current smokers.

The Great American Smokeout is a national event sponsored by the American Cancer Society, traditionally held on the third Thursday in November each year.  According to Kessler, there are a number of resources and support systems available to help smokers quit; several are free and available online.

These resources include the California Smoker’s Helpline which offers free over-the-phone counseling sessions via 1-800-NO-BUTTS, as well as online tips and information at californiasmokershelpline.org. The Smoker’s Helpline provides these services in six different languages. The American Cancer Society also has stop smoking resources on its website: www.cancer.org.

“Everyone is different and some people may need additional supports to stop smoking,” said Kessler. “Some individuals may want to speak with their doctor about getting a prescription stop smoking aid, such as the patch, while others may need a structured stop smoking class or support group which they may be able to find through a local hospital or another organization. The first step is simply making that attempt.”

It may take several tries at stopping smoking before an individual is successful at quitting for good, so persistence is important, she added.

The Tobacco Use Prevention Program is a program of the El Dorado County Health Services Department, Public Health Division, that provides education on smoking, secondhand smoke, tobacco laws and policies. Program staff members also work to reduce illegal sales of tobacco to minors.

For more information call (530) 621-6142.

Special to Village Life

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