The Great American Smokeout began on Nov. 16, 1977, in San Francisco’s Union Square, and went national soon after. Each year American smokers are encouraged to take one day off from their use of tobacco products and spend the day exploring ways to quit altogether.
“We know that most … smokers want to quit,” said Spokane Regional Health District’s Kim Papich, “and the more often they try, the more likely it is that they will be successful.”
“The Great American Smokeout is a great opportunity, she said, “for individuals … who are looking for a reason and resources to make a quit attempt.”
Next Thursday, on the 40th anniversary of the first Great American Smokeout, David’s Pizza will host a Youth Advocacy Event at their 803 W. Mallon Ave. location. Young people are encouraged to come in from 4-6 p.m. to help assemble quit-kits that will be handed out between 5-7 p.m. David’s will provide a free slice of pizza to volunteers and those picking up quit-kits, while supplies last.
Spokane City Council President Ben Stuckart will be there to share his experiences. “The health district and I agreed that they would challenge me to stop smoking,” he said, “and I’m no longer smoking.”
“I’ve seen other people quit since I took their challenge,” he said. “I think it’s worthy to share my story so more people can quit.”
“Even a smoker wouldn’t argue with you that it (smoking) is not good for anybody,” said David’s Pizza owner Mark Starr. “If we can do something to put a positive spin on this and get behind it, I’m excited to do it.”
Students can sign up for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network’s annual Day at the Capital event, scheduled for Jan. 30. “We are bringing them to Olympia,” said ACSCAN’s Mary McHale, “and having them use their voices in support of raising our state’s age of sales to 21.”
“The most impactful messenger for any policy change are the folks that are impacted by that change,” she said. “In this case, it’s youth.”
The Spokane Regional Health District will host Smokeout events throughout the Spokane area, where tobacco users can get information and quit-kits. Locations include Spokane area CHAS Health clinics, Providence Holy Family Anticoagulation and Pharmacotherapy Clinic, Washington State University Spokane – Student Academic Center, the West Central Community Center, the Deaconess Health and Education Building, Whitworth University, Sacred Heart Medical Center and Spokane Valley Partners. Go to www.srhd.org/gaso for a complete list and map of locations.
The World Health Organization holds an annual tobacco free day, usually at the end of May.
According to the American Cancer Society, 15 percent of Americans smoked in 2015 compared to 42 percent in 1965. As of 2015, 36.5 million Americans smoke cigarettes.
Tobacco remains the number one cause of premature death in the United States.
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