Posted on November 17, 2003 in Sports
By Compiled By Sheera LaBelle, R.N., University Health Services
During the Great American Smokeout, always held on the third Thursday of November, millions of people quit smoking for a day or more. This national event challenges people to quit using tobacco and raises awareness about the numerous ways to quit forever. The Smokeout began in the 1970′s when smoking and secondhand smoke were the norm. The idea for the event began in 1971 when Massachusetts resident Arthur P. Mullhaney asked people to give up smoking for a day and donate the money they would have spent on cigarettes to a local high school. Then, in 1974, Lynn R. Smith, editor of the “Monticello Times” in Minnesota, spearheaded the state’s first D-Day, or Don’t Smoke Day. The idea caught on, and on Nov. 18, 1976, the California Division of the American Cancer Society successfully got nearly one million smokers to quit for the day. That event marked the first Smokeout, and the Society took it nationwide in 1977.
For people thinking about quitting, the Great American Smokeout offers public support and a feeling of camaraderie with others who are giving up tobacco for the day. Many people quit for good after the Smokeout, especially if they have planned their quit day in advance. Research shows that people are most successful in quitting permanently when they have means of support such as nicotine replacement therapy, counseling, guide books or the encouragement of friends and family.
Here are some of the benefits of quitting smoking:
20 minutes after quitting: Blood pressure drops to a level close to that before the last cigarette. The temperature of your hands and feet return to normal.
8 hours after quitting: The carbon monoxide level in your body drops to normal.
24 hours after quitting: Chance of a heart attack decreases.
2 weeks to 3 months after quitting: Circulation improves and lung function increases by up to 30 percent.
1 to 9 months after quitting: Coughing, sinus congestion, fatigue and shortness of breath decrease; cilia (the tiny hair-like structures that move mucus out of the lungs) regain normal function, increasing the ability to handle mucus, clean the lungs and reduce infection.
1 year after quitting: The excess risk of coronary heart disease decreases by half.
5 years after quitting: The risk of suffering a stroke is reduced.
10 years after quitting: The lung cancer death rate is half that of a continuing smoker’s. The risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, kidney and pancreas decrease.
15 years after quitting: The risk of coronary heart disease matches that of a nonsmoker’s.
Look for a variety of information and activities to help you quit, even if it is just for the day, on both campuses this Thursday, Nov. 20. If you are willing to quit and give up your pack for the day, you can enter a raffle for some phenomenal prizes.
On the Portland campus (9 a.m. to 1 p.m.), prizes include 100 gallons of heating oil and a one day Nordic ski trip through Campus Rec. and Fitness. In Gorham (9 a.m. to 2 p.m.) prizes include numerous gift certificates to locales in the Gorham area.
Sheera LaBelle can be contacted at email@example.com.