Annual smokeout program gives smokers opportunity to quit

Mike Zacharias

Cigarette smokers looking for an excuse to quit might try to kick the habit Thursday.

The Great American Smokeout, usually on the third Thursday of November, encourages smokers to quit for 24 hours.

“The Great American Smokeout is a day that smokers get a lot of support knowing that other smokers are with them,” said Danielle Baker, vice-chairwoman of the Student Health Advisory Committee.

In 2000, a study conducted by Boynton Health Service found 38 percent of 18- to 24-year-old University students had used tobacco in a 30-day period. This is slightly lower than a national study conducted in 1999 for the same age group.

To help smokers quit, Boynton will market their smoking cessation program with newspaper advertisements and in-clinic promotion.

“When somebody says they smoke, it’s a good time to tell them we have a program,” said David Golden, director of public health, marketing and program development for Boynton.

Golden said the smoking cessation program is geared toward students and includes individual counseling on different approaches to quitting.

According to the Web site quitsmoking.com, the smokeout originated in Minnesota in the early 1970s when it was called “D Day.” The idea began to catch on in other states.

It went nationwide in 1977, when the National Cancer Society began to sponsor the event.

“If past smokeouts are any indication, as many as one-third of the nation’s 46 million smokers could be taking the day off from smoking,” reads quitsmoking.com’s information on the event.

“I think it’s pretty important that people quit smoking,” said Ryan Adamus, a freshman in the College of Liberal Arts who smokes cigarettes. “It’s a bad habit and it’s disgusting and a lot of people don’t appreciate it.”

Mike Zacharias welcomes comments at [email protected]