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The month of November brings us one of the most proactive topics of the year. The third Thursday of November (the week before Thanksgiving) marks an annual event called the Great American Smokeout. The American Cancer Society (ACS) challenges Americans to stop smoking for 24 hours to kick off what they hope will be a change in lifestyle that will last forever. It all began in the mid 70’s when Massachusetts, Minnesota and California presented public challenges for smokers to give up their cigarettes. In 1976, the California division of the ACS successfully encouraged nearly one million smokers to quit for the day. The annual event has flourished, and each year smokers choose this day to mark the beginning of the end of their smoking.
We encourage you to integrate this topic into your classroom discussions. We have provided several ways to do this below.
Here is our new favorite website. The California Youth Advocacy Network is designed for colleges, but we recommend that you scroll down to the bottom of the page where they show 2010 Sample Advertisements and Flyers. http://tinyurl.com/23z4y4d
Integrate the discussion: Create your own school advertising campaign to help others learn. Integrate this topic for the week in art, homeroom, health, advisors, technology/media class etc.
Here are some tips from the American Cancer Society (ACS) website:
In 2009 “The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act” was signed into law and gives the FDA the authority to regulate the sale, manufacturing, and marketing of tobacco products and protects children from tobacco industry’s marketing practices.
On the ACS website they have a fantastic calculator that can tell a smoker how many cigarettes they smoke per day, month or year and how much it costs them to smoke.
Integrate the discussion as a classroom project for math, health, homeroom etc. One of our schools made a spinning wheel of death using cigarette smoking as a basis for mathematical calculations.
How To Quit
Make the decision to quit
Set a quit date and choose a help plan
Learn how to handle withdrawal
Staying quit (maintenance)
Research shows that smokers are most successful in kicking the habit when they have some means of support, such as:
nicotine replacement products
telephone smoking cessation hotlines
prescription medicine to lessen cravings
encouragement and support from friends and family members
How To Help A Friend – Many People say “It Is One Of The Hardest Drugs To Quit!”
As a friend or family member of a smoker, you are in an uncomfortable situation. Tobacco smoking damages nearly every organ in the human body, is linked to at least 15 different cancers including: lung, larynx (voice box), oral cavity (mouth, tongue, and lips), pharynx (throat), esophagus, stomach, pancreas, cervix, kidney, bladder, acute myeloid leukemia.
You should know that it may take several attempts to quit and relapse is part of the process for some people. Each time they quit they will feel bad about failing. Encourage them to set another date to quit. The sooner they try again and the longer they remain smoke-free each time will ensure their confidence and success.
Integrate the discussion Have a classroom discussion about how difficult it is to help someone to quit. Practice how to use “I” statements and research available methods of quitting in your community. Does your library, counseling or health/nurse office have available information?
Secondhand smoke – “A known human carcinogen (cancer causing agent)”
If the smoker claims they aren’t concerned about their own health, they should consider here is what family members are up against as a consequence of living with a smoker. Secondhand smoke comes from sidestream smoke (smoke that comes from the end of the lit cigarette, pipe or cigar) and mainstream smoke (smoke that is exhaled by a smoker).
In the United States alone, each year it is responsible for:
An estimated 46,000 deaths from heart disease in non-smokers who live with smokers.
About 3,400 lung cancer deaths in non-smoking adults.
Other breathing problems in non-smokers, including coughing, mucus, chest discomfort, and reduced lung function.
Up to 300,000 lung infections (such as pneumonia and bronchitis) in children younger than 18 months of age, which result in 7,500 to 15,000 hospitalizations.
Increases in the number and severity of asthma attacks in about 200,000 to 1 million children who have asthma.
More than 750,000 middle ear infections in children.
Secondhand smoke may be related to breast cancer.
Integrate the discussion: Make a list of all the ways that people can accidentally be around secondhand smoke and a list of all the ways to avoid it. Work as a group to find polite ways to excuse yourself from a smoking person, room or area without insulting the smoker or hurting their feelings.
Pets and cigarette smoke
It’s not just the humans that smokers should worry about; their pets are inhaling the smoke as well. (http://www.tobaccofreeutah.org/smokingpets.htm) has a page explaining the toxins that our pets are exposed to.
Cats are known to get cancer from licking the tar off of their fur when cleaning themselves.
California proudly has the second lowest smoking rate (12.9% of adults smoke – CDC 2009) in the country. With positive and gentle encouragement we could be the leaders of the nation in smoke free communities. If you have a loved one who is not ready to quit, plant the seed and put it on the calendar to quit the next time the Great American Smokeout or World No Tobacco Day comes around.
If you have a loved one who is ready to quit smoking, they don’t have to wait another year to quit. In an attempt to reduce the 5.4 million yearly deaths from tobacco-related health problems, World No Tobacco Day (sponsored by the World Health Organization since 1987) is observed around the world on May 31st.
Other references for help:
American Heart Association – Telephone: 1-800-AHA-USA-1 (1-800-242-8721)
Internet Address: www.americanheart.org
American Lung Association – Telephone: 1-800-LUNG-USA (1-800-586-4872)
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) -Internet Address:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – Office on Smoking and Health
Internet Address: www.cdc.gov/tobacco/ http://www.cdc.gov/media/pressrel/2010/r101104.html?s_cid=tw_cdc216
National Cancer Institute -Telephone: 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237)
Internet Address: www.cancer.gov
Smokefree.gov -(Info on state phone-based quitting programs)
Telephone: 1-800-QUITNOW (1-800-784-8669) – Internet Address: www.smokefree.gov