The Great American Smokeout

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Every year, on the third Thursday of November, smokers across the nation take part in the American Cancer Society Great American Smoke out. This event has assisted individuals in making a plan to stop smoking and then quitting on this day. It has raised awareness to the hazards of tobacco use and what can be done to quit.

Tobacco use is responsible for 1 in 5 deaths annually in the United States. It is considered the most preventable cause of death. A 1990's study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control found smoking shortened the life of a male by 13.2 years and that of a female by 14.5 years


Annual Deaths Attributable to Cigarette Smoking—United States, 2005–2009

Source: Surgeon General's Report, Table 12.4, page 660

Cigarette smoke contains many toxins including tar, nicotine, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, arsenic, and cyanide. These harmful substances contribute to the development of cancer, heart disease, emphysema, bronchitis, and stroke. Smoking also can change a person's physical appearance making them appear older by altering the skin, teeth, and hair. Other problems associated with cigarette smoking include bad breath, a bad smell in clothing, hair, and skin, decreased ability to do physical activities because of breathing problems, higher risk of bone fractures, and sleeping problems. Smoking is also an expensive habit with the average cost of about $5.00 for a pack of cigarettes.

Since nicotine is highly addictive, most individuals need help to quit smoking. Only one in four people who quit are successful the first time. Pointe Coupee Human Service Center offers a smoking cessation program including classes and free nicotine patches. Please call (225) 638-5737 for more information.

Here are few helpful tips to assist you to quit smoking successfully:

  • Understand what drives you to keep smoking. Individuals that are addicted to cigarette smoking, smoke during the night and immediately when waking in the morning. Social pressure, boredom, and stress or anger are other things that drive an individual to smoke.

  • Identify what you fear about quitting. Write down your concerns. Are you afraid you will gain weight? A person does not always gain weight with smoking cessation. If weight gain does occur it is normally less than 10 pounds (4.5 kg).

  • Ask a friend or significant other to quit with you.

  • Clean out ashtrays and start putting them away.

  • Decrease the number of cigarettes you smoke each day. Try smoking a half rather than a whole cigarette. Limit smoking to only the even or odd hours of the day.

  • Switch to a brand of cigarettes you do not like.

  • Do not smoke when you are doing something else, such as talking on the phone, drinking alcohol or coffee, or reading or watching television.

  • Start exercising before you quit.

  • Keep your cigarettes and lighters separate and in a place you have to go to get them.

  • Buy one pack at a time and at a new store, several miles from your home.

  • Every time you want a cigarette, tell yourself you will wait 10 minutes and then smoke. Increase the time as you go.

  • Find a hobby to occupy your time so you will not get bored.

  • Keep cigarette substitutes around such as carrots, celery sticks, sugarless gum or candy.

  • Mark every successful day on your calendar and reward yourself every day or week. Spend the money that you would have spent on cigarettes on something special for yourself.

  • Eat a healthy balanced diet.

  • Drink plenty of water.

  • Ask your health care provider about nicotine replacement or medications that can help decrease your desire for nicotine.


Learn more through our smoking cessation information.

Remember it is never too late to quit smoking! Your health will begin to improve 20 minutes after you quit smoking and continue to improve the longer you remain smoke free!

UpdatePCGHAwareness, Smoking, Health