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Annual Great American Smokeout today

BY ALYSSA GUZMAN | NOVEMBER 20, 2014 5:00 AM

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Those who support the campaign to quit smoking should plan on wearing blue today.

The annual Great American Smokeout has been taking place on the third Thursday of November every year since 1977.

Started by the American Cancer Society, the Smokeout aims to encourage those who are addicted to nicotine to try and go without it for an entire day.

“Every day is a good day to stop smoking,” Johnson County Supervisor Terrance Neuzil said. “But this day seems to motivate people more than any other.”

The date for the smokeout was approved during a Board of Supervisors meeting last week. Iowa residents are asked to wear blue to support those who are trying to quit smoking.

University of Iowa senior and health promotion student Danielle Ostrander said that she will definitely be supporting the cause by wearing blue today.

“I feel it is very important to quit smoking,” she said. “The outcomes that smoking causes are terrifying, and being that smoking is something we can have control over, I think everyone should work to quit.”

Ostrander has a practicum at pulmonary rehabilitation and works to improve disease self-management of patients with chronic lung diagnosis.

“Seeing firsthand the difficulties these patients have, some due to smoking, is a main reason I take a stand against smoking,” Ostrander said.

Neuzil said that the health factors when it comes to smoking are so common, that most people know of at least one other person who has health problems due to smoking, or who have died from smoking.

In addition to the health concerns, an Iowan smoker who smokes a pack of cigarettes a day will spend about $2,190 each year on cigarettes.

“This year, the [Iowa’s] theme for the Great American Smokeout is the cost of tobacco to your health and wallet,” Johnson County health educator Sarah Vileta said.

Vileta encourages people to continue to try and quit, no matter how many times it takes.

“It can take seven to 10 times of trying to quit to quit for good,” she said. “So try again this year.”

Neuzil also encourages those who are addicted to nicotine to try to utilize this day to quit.

“We’re hoping people will try [to quit],” Neuzil said. “When you’re addicted to nicotine, all you can do is try. What better day to [try and quit] than a day that is designated to do it?”

Ostrander also believes the event is a perfect opportunity to encourage people to break their addictions.

“I think the Great American Smokeout is a great event,” she said. “As we know, it encourages people to quit for at least one day. [Hopefully] it translates into many days after that.”


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