This column appears in the Nevada Appeal Wednesday health pages. It addresses topics related to the health of our community.
On Nov. 19, millions of Americans across the country will “butt out” as part of the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout. The idea behind the Great American Smokeout is to encourage current smokers to kick the habit just for the day, in hopes they are going to be inspired to become quitters for life.
The Tobacco-Free College Campus Initiative is encouraging campuses across the nation to take a 1Day Stand on Nov. 19, 2015, to celebrate the Great American Smokeout. 1Day Stand against tobacco calls on college campuses to adopt a tobacco-free policy for one day. More than 1,577 campuses nationwide have implemented a 100 percent smoke-or-tobacco-free policy. While Western Nevada College doesn’t yet have in place a tobacco-free policy, Carson City Health and Human Services and WNC are partnering with the Tobacco-Free College Campus Initiative for the 1Day Stand against tobacco next Thursday.
Students and faculty at WNC are encouraged to give up smoking, even just for the day, on Nov. 19. There will be event tables on campus from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Participants can stop by the table to learn more about quitting smoking. Current smokers are invited to turn in their tobacco products for the day to receive prizes. There will also be a survey on tobacco, and respondents will be entered into a raffle for an Amazon Kindle.
Smoking is an important risk factor for cancer, heart disease and other negative health effects. Quitting is the most important step a smoker can make to improve his or her health. When a person quits smoking, health benefits begin almost immediately. After only 20 minutes, your heart rate drops to normal, and in a day, the carbon monoxide levels in your blood return to normal as well. Within weeks, your lung function will begin to improve and your risk for heart attack will drop. The longer you stay tobacco free, the more you will experience these benefits. Quitting smoking can help you live longer and improve the quality of your life.
Smoking takes a great toll on health, but hits the wallet pretty hard as well. The American Lung Association found the cost of cigarettes alone sets a pack-a-day smoker back approximately $2,000 per year — that’s a lot of money for many families. When higher-than-average healthcare costs, lost productivity and wages, and premature death are factored in, suddenly the cost of a pack of cigarettes jumps to $18!
Quitting tobacco can be difficult, but it’s not impossible. The Nevada Tobacco QuitLine is a free telephone and online coaching service for any Nevada resident who’s ready to quit tobacco. Information, referrals and coaching are confidential, and sessions are designed on a schedule that’s convenient for you. If you’re eligible, you may receive free Nicotine Replacement Therapy to assist you with your quit. Call 1-800-Quit-Now (1-800-784-8669) or access the online resources at nevada.quitlogix.org.
For more information about other Health Department services, check out our website at www.gethealthycarsoncity.org, or visit us at www.facebook.com/cchhs.