Great American Smokeout on Nov. 15. A Great Time to Quit

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - MAY 31:  Isaiah Atkinson s...

The Great American Smokeout is Nov. 15.

Get ready for the Great American Smokeout. It is Nov. 15. It is a national event, organized by the American Cancer Society some 37 years ago, that encourages smokers to use the date to make a plan to quit or quit smoking just for that day.  By quitting, even for one day, smokers take a step towards leading a healthier life.

About 43.8 million (out of population 312 million) Americans smoke cigarettes. In 1965 that number was nearly the same, 45.4 million, but the population was 197 million people back then.

Here are some key facts from the American Cancer Society and the American Lung Association:

  • Tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the United States (Source: ACS).
  • Cigarette smoke contains over 4,800 chemicals, 69 of which are known to cause cancer (Source: ALA).
  • Smoking is directly responsible for approximately 90 percent of lung cancer deaths and approximately 80-90 percent of COPD (emphysema and chronic bronchitis) deaths (Source: ALA).
  • Among adults who have ever smoked, 70 percent started smoking regularly at age 18 or younger, and 86 percent at age 21 or younger  (Source: ALA).
  • Among current smokers, chronic lung disease accounts for 73 percent of smoking-related conditions (Source: ALA).
  • Smoking harms nearly every organ in the body, and is a main cause of lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD, including chronic bronchitis and emphysema). It is also a cause of coronary heart disease, stroke and a host of other cancers and diseases (Source: ALA).

Those are really good facts, and great reasons for you to start your new life as a non-smoker. There are a variety of ways to quit smoking. Talk to your doctor about therapies and medications that can ease the transition.

The Anne Arundel County Department of Health takes the Great American Smokeout Day seriously by offering free self-help quit-smoking publications and information for adults and teens. The kits can be requested from the Learn To Live Line, 410-222-7979, or from the Spanish Language Line, 410-222-4479. They can also be ordered or downloaded.

  • Quit Smoking Kit is an easy-to-use steps for quitting and staying smoke-free is available in English and Spanish.
  • Power to Quit Smoking Kit is an easy-to-use guide that encourages African Americans to stop smoking.
  • Power to Quit Smoking Kit: Easy-to-use guide encouraging African Americans to stop smoking.
  • I Quit A fun and interactive online program that helps teens kick the habit. Go to

The Health Department also offers free quit-smoking classes, which include counseling and may include nicotine replacement therapy. Pre-registration is required. One of the providers is in West River in South County:

  • Owensville Primary Care, 134 Owensville Road, West River. Call 410-867-4700.
  • Anne Arundel Medical Center, 2000 Medical Parkway, Health Sciences Institute in Annapolis. Call 443-481-4000 or 1-800-MD-NURSE.
  • Baltimore Washington Medical Center, 301 Hospital Drive, Tate Cancer Center in Glen Burnie. Call 410-787-4367.

So get ready to give it up. If even just for one day, on Nov. 15. For more information about cancer prevention or tobacco cessation, visit the Department of Health website, or call the Learn To Live Line, 410-222- 7979.

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About Mitchelle Stephenson

I've gotta tell Mitchelle! Send your South County news tips, brag on your fab volunteers, talk traffic, police and fire or just say "howdy" to Mitchelle Stephenson, co-founding editor of the South River Source. or reach me in person on mobile: 410-353-4706.

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