Quitting smoking isn’t easy. It takes time and a plan. You don’t have to stop smoking in one day - start with day one.
On November 21, the Tobacco Education & Prevention Coalition for Porter County is partnering with the American Cancer Society to join The Great American Smokeout movement. And don’t worry - you won’t be alone. Thousands of people who smoke are going to take a step toward a healthier and smoke-free life that day, together.
“It’s a day for people to make that commitment to go smoke-free,” said Amy Blaker, Program Coordinator, Tobacco Education & Prevention Coalition for Porter County. “The Great American Smokeout is a day of awareness for how many people still smoke because smoking is still the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the United States.”
For the last 40 years, the American Cancer Society has hosted The Great American Smokeout on the third Thursday of November. The movement provides an opportunity for individuals, community groups, businesses, healthcare providers and others to make a plan and fight addiction - starting on day one. Smoking tobacco remains the single largest preventable cause of death and illness in the world. According to the American Cancer Society’s website, more than 34 million Americans still smoke cigarettes and more than 16 million Americans live with a smoking-related disease.
Although the nation’s smoking rate has dropped significantly in the U.S., from 42% in 1995 to 14% in 2017, the rate for Porter County is still at 18%.
“Indiana is considered part of what we call ‘Tobacco Nation’ which is typically comprised of southern states. Yet, Indiana is considered to be in that 13 state block,” Blaker said. “A lot of it is based on the state’s low tax rate on cigarettes. We have some of the lowest taxes on cigarettes in the country.”
The Tobacco Education & Prevention Coalition for Porter County will be hosting events around Valparaiso University to encourage people to kick the habit and inform them about their counseling services.
“It takes a person an average of seven times at attempting to quit before they do it successfully,” Blaker said. “It’s been proven that you’re much more likely to be successful at quitting smoking when you combine nicotine replacement therapy (such as nicotine patches and gum) with coaching.”
The coalition knows tobacco companies target specific populations which is why they offer several different programs to help anyone from all walks of life.
“There are different pockets of desperate populations that are targeted by tobacco companies and have been for a very long time,” Blaker said. “We have specific programs for pregnant smokers, programs for youth smokers, and for patients who live with behavioral health issues.”
If you’re having trouble quitting smoking, don’t give up and remember to take it one day at a time. Breaking any habit is difficult and the Tobacco Education & Prevention Coalition for Porter County is here to help you through it all. Why not use the Great American Smokeout to quit together? To learn more about the Tobacco Education & Prevention Coalition for Porter County and The Great American Smokeout, visit their website.