Director's Spotlight - November 2012
Tobacco Free: Great American Smokeout
November 15 marked the date of the 37th American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout. This annual event originated in 1971, when there was a movement for all sretmokers to give up cigarettes for a day, and instead donate the money they would have spent on cigarettes to a scholarship fundraiser for High School students. The idea of getting smokers to quit for a day surfaced again in California during 1976, and in 1977, the first national Great American Smokeout was held.
The month of November has also been designated as Lung Cancer Awareness Month. Lung cancer awareness activities began as Lung Cancer Awareness Day in 1995, and participation grew so rapidly it became Lung Cancer Awareness Month. For a list of Lung Cancer Awareness activities, visit the Lung Cancer Alliance website.
Rather than just persuading smokers to quit for a day, the modern goal of lung cancer awareness events are to provide encouragement to smokers to quit on the date provided, or at least use the date to construct a plan to quit. Because of all the available support coming from fellow Americans, this is a great time for smokers to take a step toward a healthier lifestyle.
In addition to enhancing one’s health, there are various reasons to quit using tobacco. For instance, taking time out of your work day for smoke breaks definitely decreases productivity, and chances are that it is quite the inconvenience – especially considering most cities in Missouri have implemented no smoking ordinances. There are many ways for Missourians to come together in the workplace to help support those trying to become tobacco free.
On a state level, the insurance company for state employees is encouraging its members with a tobacco-free incentive where certain members are eligible to receive $25 off their monthly premium if they attest to not smoking/using other tobacco products. Be sure to check with your health insurance provider to see if there are any incentives offered for choosing to live a tobacco-free, healthier lifestyle!