Thursday, November 21, 2019, marks the 44th annual Great American Smokeout. This day is nationally recognized as a day to encourage tobacco users to use the date to make a plan to quit, or plan in advance and quit using tobacco that day. By quitting — even for one day – tobacco users will be taking an important step towards a healthier life – one that can lead to reducing cancer risk. Help a loved one that you may know in their journey of becoming tobacco-free.

Tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the United States, yet nearly 40 million Americans still smoke cigarettes and about 4.7 million middle and high school students use at least one tobacco product, including e-cigarettes. Every day, about 2,000 U.S. youth younger than 18 years smoke their first cigarette.

Steps to help a tobacco user prepare for Thursday’s Great American Smokeout include:

· Tracking in advance, how much tobacco you are using (What time and where you are using? What is the emotion behind the use? How do you define the need for your tobacco? Is the intensity low, medium, or high?

· Getting rid of tobacco, electronic nicotine delivery systems, and ashtrays in your home, car, and place of work.

· Stocking up on oral substitutes such as sugarless gum, carrot sticks, cinnamon candy, etc.

· Deciding on a quit plan. Will you attend a Tobacco Cessation Program? Will you use nicotine replacement therapy? Coupling tobacco cessation classes or counseling with nicotine replacement therapy can double your chance of successfully staying tobacco-free.

· Determining ways to reward yourself for being smoke-free.

· Practicing saying, “No thank you. I don’t use tobacco.”

· Setting up a support system to include friends, family members, co-workers, etc.

Need help in your attempt to quit? Call Idaho Quitline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW or visit projectfilter.org for tobacco cessation support and up to an eight week supply of nicotine patches, gum or lozenges for FREE. For additional information, please contact Traci Lambson at Southeastern Idaho Public Health at 478-6316.

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