Clinton Herald Letter to the Editor-01

Quitting smoking is not easy and often it can take more than one attempt to be successful.

In an effort to eliminate smoking, each year the American Cancer Society recognizes the third Thursday of November as the Great American Smokeout.

Smoking is the single largest preventable cause of death and illness in the world. It causes an estimated 480,000 deaths every year and more than 16 million Americans live with a smoking-related disease.

The American Cancer Society has been hosting the Great American Smokout since the 1970s, and the first Don’t Smoke Day occurred in Minnesota in 1974. Just two years later, in November 1976, the California Division of the American Cancer Society was able to get nearly 1 million smokers to quit smoking for the day and the event was marked as the first official Smokeout.

This year, the Great American Smokeout occurs on November 18. It is an opportunity for those who are current users of tobacco products to make a plan to quit.

Addiction to nicotine is recognized as one of the strongest and most deadly addictions that someone can have. Those looking to break their addiction are advised to use proven cessation methods, such as prescription medications and counseling. The most common forms of personal support that people have success with are telephoning Quitlines, reading self-help books, speaking with smoking counselors/coaches, and encouragement from friends and family.

Quitline Iowa is a free service available to any resident of Iowa that is looking for support to quit tobacco and nicotine products. The chances of someone being successful in their attempt to quit can double or triple when there is support.

November is also recognized as COPD awareness month. The American Lung Association estimates that nearly 15.3 million Americans suffer from diagnosed COPD, while there are likely millions more who are suffering and aren’t aware they have it. While there is no cure for COPD, medications can help alleviate some of the symptoms. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute reports smoking is the most common cause of COPD. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood institute also provides informational materials for community partners, patients, and caregivers.

For more information, or resources on the Great American Smokeout, visit the American Cancer Society’s web site at www.cancer.org. For more information, and resources about COPD Awareness Month, visit the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute’s website at www.nhlbi.nih.gov. Quitline Iowa can be reached by calling 1-800-QUIT-NOW or at www.quitlineiowa.org. For more information on tobacco prevention in Clinton County, contact Area Substance Abuse Council at prevention@asac.us.

Olivia Regenwether is a prevention specialist with the Area Substance Abuse Council.

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