Smokeout brings tobacco awareness

Photo by Sam Provenzano

Photo by Sam Provenzano

LAWRENCEVILLE -- The Gwinnett, Newton and Rockdale County Health Departments are encouraging residents using tobacco products to stop using and become aware of the many support methods and resources available to help them become smoke free during this year's Great American Smokeout, scheduled for today.

"We understand the daily challenges smokers face when trying to quit," said Suleima Salgado, director of public relations for the Gwinnett, Newton, and Rockdale County Health Department. "The Great American Smokeout is a great first step toward quitting or making a plan to quit."

The health departments encourage persons seeking help to quit smoking to call the Georgia toll free Tobacco Quitline, which is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, at 877-270-STOP (7867). Persons who call will receive counseling to set a quit date and cessation therapy supporting their attempt to quit. The NRT (Nicotine Replacement Therapy) program is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

According to the American Cancer Society, tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in U.S.

Locally, both Gwinnett County and Rockdale County Public School Systems are 100 percent Tobacco Free. Sixty-six Georgia school districts are now tobacco free.

Youth smoking rates are declining in middle (8.5 percent in 2005 to 6.1 percent in 2009) and high schools (19.4 percent in 2005 to 15.4 percent in 2009) as of the 2009 Georgia Youth Tobacco Survey.

The Great American Smokeout was first launched in 1976 to get smokers to put out their cigarettes for a day. Now, the campaign works to get people to make long-term commitments to quit smoking.

For more information on the Georgia Tobacco Use Prevention Program, visit www.livehealthygeorgia.org and click on the link "Be Smokefree" http://health.state.ga.us/programs/tobacco/index.asp or visit www.gnrhealth.com.