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Take a break from smoking Thursday, get help to quit

The American Cancer Society is encouraging smokers to quit tobacco use during its Great American Smokeout on Thursday and then hopefully for good.
The American Cancer Society is encouraging smokers to quit tobacco use during its Great American Smokeout on Thursday and then hopefully for good. AP File

The American Cancer Society’s 2017 Great American Smokeout, when smokers are encouraged to go tobacco-free for 24 hours, is Thursday.

The smokeout is held annually across the United States on the third Thursday of November.

On the Coast, the Mississippi Tobacco-Free Coalition of Jackson County will offer free stop-smoking resources from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday outside the Student Learning Center at the Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College campus in Gautier. The Mississippi Tobacco-Free Coalition of Harrison County will be at Blue Cliff College, 12251 Bernard Parkway, Gulfport, from 9 a.m. to noon.

“Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of disease and death in the United States,” said Amy Winter, director of the Office of Tobacco Control at the Mississippi State Department of Health. “In Mississippi, 5,400 adults die each year from smoking, and 192,000 children are exposed to secondhand smoke at home.”

Within eight hours of quitting, a person’s blood carbon monoxide levels drop and blood oxygen levels increase to normal; within 24 hours of quitting, the risk of a sudden heart attack goes down as well.

“Every year, hundreds of nonsmoking Mississippians die from exposure to secondhand smoke,” said Kellie Lamb, director of the Mississippi Tobacco-Free Coalition of Jackson County. “Abundant evidence has demonstrated the danger of secondhand smoke, but it continues to be a significant public health hazard. Secondhand smoke causes heart disease, lung cancer and other serious health problems. Children are especially vulnerable to its risks.”

For more help, call the Mississippi Tobacco Quitline at 1-800-QUITNOW to receive free counseling, and medications such as nicotine patches or gum. Or visit quitlinems.com.

Smokers who want to kick the habit can also use the Quit for Life app offered by the American Cancer Society to reach an around-the-clock support network.

Sun Herald

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