The 86th Medical Group Health Promotion office is encouraging members of the Kaiserslautern Military Community to commit to healthy, smoke-free lives by participating in the American Cancer Society’s 43rd Great American Smokeout event on Ramstein Air Base, Nov. 15.
“The most important thing smokers can do to improve their health is to quit smoking cigarettes and other forms of combustible tobacco,” said Brian Kirby, 86th MDG Health Promotion coordinator. “We are showing our support for people who take those first steps toward making a plan to quit.
“I want to emphasize that this annual observance and the events attached are efforts towards a tobacco-free community,” Kirby continued. “Our battle is with tobacco and nicotine itself; this is not an attack against tobacco users.”
According to the ACS, addiction to nicotine in cigarettes is one of the strongest and most deadly addictions one can have. While cigarette smoking rates have dropped from 42 percent in 1965 to 15.5 percent in 2016, about 37.8 million Americans still smoke cigarettes. Each year, approximately 20 million American smokers try to quit, representing more than half of the 37.8 million smokers in the U.S. Only about 1.4 million succeed.
An even greater percentage of smokers, 68 percent specifically, report being interested in quitting.
Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of cancer death in the U.S., accounting for 29 percent of all cancer deaths. In fact, smoking cigarettes kills more Americans than alcohol, car accidents, HIV, guns, and illegal drugs combined. Smoking not only causes cancer. It damages nearly every organ in the body, including the lungs, heart, blood vessels, reproductive organs, mouth, skin, eyes, and bones.
Quitting can be hard. It takes commitment, starts with a plan, often takes more than one quit attempt, and requires a lot of support. Getting help through counseling and sometimes prescription medications can double or triple your chances of quitting successfully.
Support is important. Smoking cessation programs, telephone quit lines, the American Cancer Society’s Freshstart program, Nicotine Anonymous meetings, self-help materials such as books and pamphlets, and smoking counselors or coaches can be a great help.
The 86th MDG Health Promotion office is partnering with the ACS, which is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to provide support as people make their plan to quit. More information is available at cancer.org/smokeout or by calling 1-800-227-2345.
“Health Promotion Office wants to help the people in the Kaiserslautern Military Community to be healthy and happy,” said Kirby. “During this year’s Great American Smokeout event, we hope everyone will join us – and encourage their friends, family and colleagues to join us – in committing or recommitting to year-round, smoke-free lives.”
For assistance in quitting tobacco use or to volunteer for the Great American Smokeout on Ramstein, contact the 86th MDG Health Promotion Office at 480-1799, or 06371-47-1799.