RPMH urges smokers to quit

If you have been wanting to stop smoking, Thursday, Nov. 18 is your day to do just that. Millions of people across the nation will take part in the Great American Smokeout, a day where tobacco users are encouraged to go 24 hours without smoking a cigarette. To help raise awareness, Rolling Plains Memorial Hospital (RPMH) is encouraging smokers to stop by the hospital lobby between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 18, to trade their cigarettes in for a pack of healthy snacks. Hospital team members will also be on-hand to provide more information on resources available to help smokers quit. “It’s time to smoke out tobacco use in Sweetwater and adopt healthier lifestyle choices,” said Donna Boatright, CEO of RPMH. “The advantages of giving up smoking far outweigh the risks of continuing, impacting not only your health, but that of your family.” Tobacco use is the single greatest cause of premature death in the United States. Lung cancer happens to also be the number one cause of death from cancer, according the American Cancer Society. The Great American Smokeout is an effort by the American Cancer Society to encourage smokers to give up their possibly deadly habit. RPMH is a strong supporter of the program that began more than 30 years ago. Celebrated on the third Thursday of November each year, the Great American Smokeout was coined in 1971 by Arthur P. Mullaney. He created an event that asked people in Randolph, Massachusetts to give up their cigarettes for a day and donate the money to a high school scholarship fund. Eventually the concept caught on and spread like wildfire across the nation. More than one million children will begin smoking this year and one-third of them will die from their addiction. About 90 percent of all new smokers are 18 years of age or younger. Once a child or teenager has begun smoking, it is likely that they will become addicted without realizing it. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 16.6 million of today’s children will become regular smokers and over 5 million of them will die from it. In Texas alone, approximately 400,000 children now under the age of 18 will die because of smoking-related illnesses, such as lung cancer or heart disease. Each year, cigarettes kill more Americans than AIDS, alcohol, vehicle accidents, murders, drugs, or fires—combined. Studies show that 46 million smoking Americans want to quit their habit. To quit permanently, smokers need support from family, friends and co-workers. The American Cancer Society offers the following tips for staying off cigarettes during the Smokeout: • Throw out all cigarettes. • Clean out all ashtrays in your home, office, and car. • Safely discard matches and give your lighters to someone to hide. • Keep yourself busy by holding a pen or pencil. You can alternatively chew on something healthy such as a carrot stick. • Change habits associated with smoking, such as by leaving the dinner table immediately after eating. For more information on the Great American Smokeout program at RPMH on Thursday, Nov. 18, for support information, please call the hospital at 325-235-1701. About Rolling Plains Memorial Hospital Rolling Plains Memorial Hospital provides healthcare for those in the communities they serve. Founded in 1976, Rolling Plains Memorial Hospital offers a wealth of medical services including: 24 hour emergency care, advanced radiology services including CT scanning and MRIs, outpatient lab, physical therapy, surgical services, swing bed services, patient education, and more.