Get up to ‘snuff’ with annual

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 18, 1999

Great American Smokeout


Features Editor

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Today is the day to snuff those butts!

Even if you forgot this morning, there’s no day like today to start kicking the tobacco habit. Any time is the right time to take the first step in putting out the smoke for good, said Shelia Deveridge, president of the Pike County Chapter of the American Cancer Society. "And today might be the best ‘right’ time."

Deveridge reminds everyone that today is the Great American Smokeout and encourages smokers to make this day the beginning of a personal smokeout for life.

"Each year, cigarettes kill more Americans than AIDS, alcohol, car accidents, fires, illegal drugs, murders and suicides combined – more than 400,000 deaths a year,"Deveridge said. "And nicotine, the stimulant in tobacco, is more addictive than cocaine and heroin."

Those are startling statistics about tobacco, but sadly true, Deveridge said.

"That’s why the American Cancer Society is attacking tobacco through programs like the Great American Smokeout."

This is the 23rd year of the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout and, for more than two decades, the American Cancer Society has helped smokers kick the nicotine addiction through this national campaign.

Even though there has been a dramatic decrease in smoking prevalence among adults, the rate of teenage smokers is increasing, Deveridge said.

"Every day about 6,000 children try a cigarette and half of those become daily smokers. And, each year, more than one million teenagers become regular smokers. That’s about 3,000 teens picking up the smoking addiction a day."

Deveridge said nearly one-third of these teens will die prematurely from a smoking-relate disease.

"By preventing teenage smoking," we can significantly reduce the number of smoking related deaths for the next generation," she said.

According to information released by the American Cancer Society, the tobacco industry makes $200 million a year by selling to and addicting a new generation of customers – children.

That’s why the American Cancer Society is urging local lawmakers and businesses to encourage public policy changes to stomp out tobacco, Deveridge said.

"Today, millions of smokers will be taking the first step to quit tobacco. Hopefully, they will be successful in life without tobacco and nicotine addiction. Hopefully, if you are a smoker, you will be among them."