GCPH encourages smokers to quit

XENIA — Greene County Public Health is encouraging residents to commit or recommit to healthy, smoke-free lives by participating in the American Cancer Society’s 43rd Great American Smokeout Thursday, Nov. 15.

“The most important thing smokers can do to improve their health is to quit smoking cigarettes and other forms of combustible tobacco,” said Shernaz Reporter, GCPH tobacco cessation specialist. “We are showing our support for people who take those first steps toward making a plan to quit.”

According to GCPH officials, cigarette smoking is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States, accounting for 29 percent of all cancer deaths. Smoking cigarettes kills more Americans than alcohol, car accidents, HIV, guns, and illegal drugs combined. Smoking not only causes cancer, it also damages nearly every organ in the body, including the lungs, heart, blood vessels, reproductive organs, mouth, skin, eyes, and bones.

“Addiction to nicotine in cigarettes is one of the strongest and most deadly addictions one can have,” GCPH officials said in a release. “While cigarette smoking rates have dropped from 42 percent in 1965 to 15.5 percent in 2016, about 37.8 million Americans smoke cigarettes. Each year, approximately 20 million American smokers try to quit, representing more than half of the 37.8 million smokers in the U.S. Only about 1.4 million (7 percent) succeed. An even greater percentage of smokers (68 percent) report being interested in quitting.”

Greene County Public Health is partnering with the American Cancer Society, which is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to provide support as people make their plan to quit. More information is available at cancer.org/smokeout or by calling 800-227-2345.

“Greene County Public Health is committed to helping the people in our community be healthy and happy,” said Melissa Howell, GCPH health commissioner. “During this year’s Great American Smokeout, we hope everyone will join us – and encourage their friends, family and colleagues to join us – in committing or recommitting to year-around, smoke-free lives.”

Greene County Public Health also encourages parents and policy makers to help prevent youth initiation of nicotine addiction by supporting 100 percent tobacco, vape and JUUL-free schools, Tobacco 21 initiatives, and secondhand smoke-free multi-unit housing.

People struggling with quitting can call Ohio’s Tobacco Quit Line at 800-QUIT-NOW for support.