Nov. 21 is The Great American Smokeout

Nov. 21 is The Great American Smokeout. In observance of this year’s GASO, the Smoking Cessation Trust is encouraging Louisianans to start their journey to quitting nicotine forever by utilizing the free cessation products and services it provides.

The Great American Smokeout was created in 1975 by the American Cancer Society to get people to quit cigarettes for a day and donate the dollars they would have spent on cigarettes to charity. The event has since grown to encourage people to use the date to create a plan to quit or plan, in advance, and then quit smoking that day. It challenges people to stop using tobacco and helps people know about the many tools available to help them quit.

Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in our country, killing 480,000 Americans, including 6,500 Louisianans. It also results in more than 41,000 deaths from secondhand smoke exposure, since smoking doesn’t just kill, it can also lead to long-term health issues.

According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), 23.1% percent of adults in Louisiana smoke compared to 17.1% nationally. Nicotine dependence, which is both physical and mental, is currently the most common form of chemical dependence in the United States. The addiction is likely fueled by a combination of aggressive tobacco industry campaigns that target and entice young people with new technologies, such as e-cigarettes like JUUL, and slick advertisements, all used to convince them, and older established smokers, that “safer” alternatives are somehow “safe”.

While quitting is hard, there are immediate benefits for those of all ages who stop smoking, including return to heart rate and blood pressure normality, improved circulation, improved lung function, and improved smell and taste. Long-term benefits to non-smokers include reducing the chance of dying prematurely from smoking related diseases by 60%, a lower risk of stroke, and improvement in overall physical appearance.

The Smoking Cessation Trust helps smokers to quit by partnering with statewide health systems and providers, such as Ochsner Health System, Cardiovascular Institute of the South, Willis-Knighton Health System in Shreveport, Imperial Health in Lake Charles, Our Lady of the Lake in Baton Rouge, North Oaks Health System in Hammond, East Jeff General Hospital, West Jefferson Medical Center in New Orleans, and many others, and by providing free, smoking cessation products and services to a wider audience of potential Scott Class members who are ready to quit.

“In recognition of Great American Smokeout on Thursday, Nov. 21, the Smoking Cessation Trust strongly encourages everyone to make ‘Day One’ of GASO the start of a journey to quitting tobacco in all its forms,” said Mike Rogers, chief executive officer of SCT Management Services. “With three years left to this free cessation program, it is our hope that all Louisiana smokers who are eligible to become a Trust member will take full advantage of our free products and services,” added Rogers.

For more information or to apply, visit the Smoking Cessation Trust at www.smokefreela.org; call locally at (504) 529-5665 or toll-free at (855) 259-6346.