WRFC encourages smokers to abandon a plan for smoking while the American American Cancer Society ...

WRFC encourages smokers to abandon a plan for smoking while the American American Cancer Society ...

Watertown Tobacco Free Coalition (WTFC) urges parents and community members to choose a healthy and smoke-free life by attending the American Cancer Society's 43rd Great American Smokeout® event on Thursday, November 15.

"The most important thing smokers can do to improve their health is smoking cigarettes and other forms of flammable tobacco," said Kelli Rumpza, Community Prevention Specialist. "We show our support for people who are taking the first steps towards an exit plan."

Cigarette smoking, with 29 percent of all cancer deaths, is the leading cause of death in the United States, according to the American Cancer Society. In fact, cigarette smoking kills more Americans than alcohol, car accidents, HIV, guns and illegal drugs together. Smoking does not just cause cancer. It damages almost every organ in the body, including the lungs, the heart, the blood vessels, the reproductive organs, the mouth, the skin, the eyes and the bones.

Nicotine addiction in cigarettes is one of the strongest and deadliest addictions one can have. While the cigarette rate has fallen (from 42 percent in 1965 to 15.5 percent in 2016), about 37.8 million Americans smoke cigarettes. Every year, about 20 million American smokers try to quit, which is more than half of the 37.8 million smokers in the US. Only about 1.4 million (7 percent) are successful. An even greater percentage of smokers (68 percent) say they are interested in quitting.

It's hard to stop. It requires commitment and starts with a plan, often more than one termination attempt, and requires a lot of support. Getting help through counseling and / or prescription drugs can double or triple your chances of successful success.

Support is also important. Smoking cessation programs, telephone lines, the American Cancer Society's Freshstart program, meetings on Nicotine Anonymous, self-help materials such as books and brochures, as well as smoking consultants or trainers can be of great help.

The South Dakota QuitLine (1-866-SD-QUITS) offers free, personalized telephone counseling sessions for trained health trainers for South Dakotans who want to quit smoking, as well as free written materials and medication to quit.

Kickstart your Quit plan with the 2-week NRT (NRT) Kickstart Kit + Quit Guide or simply with the Quit Guide. Both are free and you do not need to sign up for the QuitLine Phone Coaching program to receive them. The first two weeks of a termination attempt are often the hardest. The right medicines can really help to reduce the annoying desire and even double your chances of success. Visit sdquitline.com/home/kickstart to get your kickstart kit. It includes free patches, chewing gum or lozenges and a Quit Guide.

BeFreeSD.com is designed to give all South Dakotans a healthier life. Find out about the facts and find new tools to help you and your loved ones live, work, learn and play tobacco-free.

RethinkTobacco.com is a prevention and tobacco cessation website for teens and young adults. Resources include training materials and toolkits for K-12 and post-secondary institutions, marketing facts from the tobacco industry, information on emerging tobacco products, and online games. The Facebook page of Rethink Tobacco – facebook.com/TabaccoRethinkIt – was developed as a complementarity of the website and is aimed at the prevention of adolescents and young adults.

SDQuitLine.com provides information about available services, stopping tips, resources, and vendor information. QuitLine's Facebook page – facebook.com/SDQuitLine – provides South Dakotans with an interactive place to share resources, ideas and information.

FindYourPowerSD.com is designed to help Indian tribes fight tobacco. It includes Native American information and resources, including leaflets, posters, a Tribal Tobacco Policy toolkit, and smoke-free signage.

WTFC Coalition provides FREE Quit Kits to further support your Quit Plan. If you are a private person interested in a Quit kit or an employer who would like to use it as a resource for your employees, please contact the Human Service Agency in Watertown at 605-886-0123.

"WTFC wants to help people in our community to be healthy and happy," said Rumpza. "At this year's Great American Smokeout® event, we hope everyone will join us and encourage their friends, family, and colleagues to join us for a smokeless life year-round."

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