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Tobacco users across the country will take on a challenge on November 17 for the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout. This annual event is an opportunity for those who use tobacco to make a plan to quit or to plan in advance and quit smoking that day. The Great American Smokeout is a national day of activism that lets quitters win by taking a first step toward a healthier lifestyle.
Bismarck-Burleigh Public Health and the North Dakota Center for Tobacco Prevention and Control Policy (BreatheND) are using the occasion to increase awareness that the best way to quit is never to start. Young people and non-smokers across the state can celebrate this occasion too, by taking a pledge to never start using tobacco products.
Tobacco is still a threat to youth everywhere as tobacco companies continue to recruit young people as replacement smokers. The majority of smokers, nearly 90%, start smoking by their 18th birthday. Additionally, 300 North Dakota kids become daily, addicted smokers each year.
Making the commitment on November 17 not to start smoking saves lives by preventing our youth from tobacco’s deadly consequences. The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids says an estimated 14,000 kids alive in North Dakota will die prematurely from a smoking-related illness. The best assurance to beating one of the most difficult addictions is to avoid it all together.
“The Great American Smokeout is our opportunity every year to say, ‘let’s end this’,” said Jordyn Schaefbauer, Tobacco Prevention Specialist with Bismarck-Burleigh Public Health, “Going tobacco-free starts with one day that leads to another, and eventually becomes a lifestyle.”
“We’re excited about our Great American Smokeout activities because the whole community has an opportunity to prevent tobacco use,” said Schaefbauer. “Smokers, non-smokers and young people have the power to control the role tobacco will play in their lives.”
To learn about the Great American Smokeout’s programs taking place in your community, contact Bismarck- Burleigh Public Health at 701-355-1595 or go to www.breathend.com to learn more about tobacco prevention.