Since 1976, the American Cancer Society has hosted the Great American Smokeout, a public awareness event to encourage people to quit smoking. Organizations across the country use the event to encourage smokers to take action to quit smoking.
On Thursday, Nov. 19, at Feather River College, students and faculty have the opportunity to participate in the statewide day-of-action by visiting various booths with information and cessation materials for tobacco use. Because of COVID-19, the event will be less “hands-on” this year, but Plumas County Public Health Agency’s Tobacco Use Reduction Program, California Health Collaborative – Smoke Free High Country, Plumas Unified School District’s Tobacco Use Prevention Education, and Feather River College are partnering to bring visual displays, quit kits, a virtual trivia game where you can win a $10 local gift card, and additional cessation materials to students and faculty on-campus. Students and faculty are encouraged to tour the booths in the cafeteria from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. and will receive a free lunch ticket for stopping by.
Smoking accounts for nearly one in three cancer deaths in the United States and increases the risk of cancers of the lung, mouth, larynx (voice box), pharynx (throat), esophagus (swallowing tube), kidney, cervix, liver, bladder, pancreas, stomach, and colon/rectum, as well as for myeloid leukemia.
Smoking not only causes cancer, but it also damages nearly every organ in the body, including the lungs, heart, blood vessels, reproductive organs, mouth, skin, eyes, and bones. About 1 out of 5 (480,000) deaths in the United States are due to smoking.
While the smoking rate has dropped significantly, from 42 percent in 1965 to 14 percent in 2017, the gains have been inconsistent. Some groups of Americans suffer disproportionately more from smoking-related cancer and other diseases, including those who have less education, who live below the poverty level, or who suffer from serious psychological distress, as well as certain racial and ethnic groups, and lesbians, gays, and bisexuals.
Quitting smoking can be extremely difficult. Experts say the best approach is to start with a plan and seek support. Quitting often takes multiple attempts. Smokers are strongly advised to use proven cessation methods, such as nicotine replacement therapies (NRTs, such as patches, gum, lozenges, etc.) or prescription medications and counseling, or a combination of all, to quit smoking. It’s a good idea to talk to your doctor or pharmacist to get their advice. Support is also important. Stop-smoking programs, telephone quitlines, self-help materials such as books and pamphlets, and smoking counselors or coaches can be a great help.
If you or someone you know is interested in quitting tobacco use and need cessation materials or resources, please reach out to Melodie at Public Health (530) 283-7098.