Smokers: Your quit day has been scheduled

Rolling Plains Memorial Hospital leverages the Great American Smokeout to encourage smokers to quitSmokers who are choosing a date to put an end to their potentially deadly habit can mark Nov. 18, on their calendar. The Great American Smokeout is the day where tobacco users across the nation are encouraged to go 24 hours without smoking a cigarette or chewing tobacco and begin an effort to quit.“Smoking is a habit that has a huge impact on the health of smokers and those around them,” said Donna Boatright, administrator of Rolling Plains Memorial Hospital (RPMH). “Quitting isn’t easy, but making the effort to stop is an important turning point towards better health.”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, Mass. to give up their cigarettes for a day and donate the money to a high school scholarship fund. The concept was quickly adopted by many and spread across the country.Today, The Great American Smokeout is spearheaded by the American Cancer Society to encourage smokers to give up their potentially deadly habit. RPMH is a strong supporter of the program that began more than 30 years ago.Tobacco use is attributed to the single greatest cause of premature death in the nation. According to the American Cancer Society, lung cancer continues to be the leading cause of death from cancer.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.Noting the importance of a smoke-free lifestyle, RPMH recently announced plans to implement a new tobacco-free policy on its campuses, effective Jan. 1, 2013. Boatright explained that eliminating tobacco use on hospital-owned and operated properties is to provide a healthy and safe environment for employees, patients and visitors and to promote positive health behavior.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 smoking cessation support services from RPMH, please call the hospital at 325-235-1701.