November 19, 2020 -- With the annual Great American Smokeout taking place Nov. 19, Tobacco Free Florida in Duval County is using this observance to encourage people to make a plan to quit smoking using the free tools and services available to Floridians. Tracing its history back more than 40 years, the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout (GASO) marks a date when smokers are encouraged to use the date to either make a plan or to begin their quit journey.
Quitting smoking can add up to 10 years to life expectancy. The health benefits of quitting smoking include reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke, improving lung function and lowering the chances of getting an array of different cancers. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) adds that smoking may increase your risk of severe illness related to COVID-19.
To celebrate GASO this year, Tobacco Free Jacksonville along with Atlantic Beach Mayor Glasser are asking the community to quit tobacco for just ONE day/night. Establishing a quit day can be the first step in a person’s effort to be healthier. Especially during these difficult times, it is important to promote a clean and healthy environment for everyone.
In addition to a healthier body, quitting smoking can lead to a healthier wallet. One year after quitting smoking, a former pack-a-day smoker can save over $2,200, based on today’s prices. Over five years, this adds up to a savings of over $11,000.
“Vaping smoke and aerosol can damage the lungs and weaken the airway immunity against infections like Coronavirus,” said Dr. Issa Hanna, Tobacco-Free Jacksonville Member and UF Health Pediatric Resident. “The effect of vaping on the respiratory system makes it more likely for teens who vapes to contract coronavirus infection.”
The Great American Smokeout has special meaning for Glasser, who in 2006 rode her bike 3,300 miles across the United States in honor of her mother, Irma Lee Rollings.
The fiercely independent center of her family who raised two attorneys, an FBI agent, a cardiologist, a pilot, and a poet, Rollings died of smoking-related lung cancer.
“Her story of being so incredibly strong, yet not being able to quit smoking, says everything about just how addictive nicotine is,” Glasser said.
Here is a 2006 article about Glasser's ride across America: www.savannahnow.com/article/20060513/news/305139890?fbclid=IwAR3sgozeOd_89wPJWCsA_KMuAdXuDcCWuQxUuQNzPNppxgnOjSE7Z6W0bR0
Information on the history of the Great American Smokeout, national activities to support quitting and other materials can be found at www.cancer.org/healthy/stay-away-from-tobacco/great-american-smokeout.html. Tobacco Free Florida’s quit tips and tools are available by visiting www.tobaccofreeflorida.com or by calling (877) U-CAN-NOW.