ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. --
The Great American Smokeout is an annual event the third Thursday of every November sponsored by the American Cancer Society that encourages Americans to stop smoking for 24 hours.
The first Great American Smokeout was held in San Francisco's Union Square in 1977 when the California Division of the American Cancer Society successfully encouraged nearly one million smokers to quit for the day.
This year Robins Air Force Base will continue the tradition of encouraging and supporting tobacco users to quit by encouraging tobacco users to stop by the Health Promotions Flight at bldg. 827 or see one of our Civilian Health Promotions staff at the Occupational Medicine Clinic in bldg. 207 and pick up a free quit kit by taking the pledge of being Tobacco Free on Nov. 17. If you have a friend, family member, or co-workers that you wish to encourage and support being tobacco free we also encourage you to take the pledge to support.
So, what are the reasons to support The Great American Smokeout by not using tobacco for just one day? Tobacco use is the single most preventable cause of disease, disability, and death in the United States. 443,000 Americans die prematurely from smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke and another 8.6 million have a serious illness caused by smoking. The harmful effects of smoking do not end with the smoker; more than 126 million nonsmoking Americans are regularly exposed to secondhand smoke and it has been proven that even brief exposure can be dangerous because nonsmokers inhale the same carcinogens and toxins in cigarette smoke as smokers.
Secondhand smoke exposure causes serious disease and death, including heart disease and lung cancer in nonsmoking adults and sudden infant death syndrome, acute respiratory infections, ear problems, and more frequent and severe asthma attacks. Each year, primarily because of exposure to secondhand smoke, an estimated 3,000 nonsmoking Americans die of lung cancer, more than 46,000 die of heart disease, and about 150,000–300,000 children younger than 18 months have lower respiratory tract infections. In addition to this enormous health toll is the significant economic burden of tobacco use—more than $193 billion per year in medical expenditures and lost productivity. This is the reason that smoking is prohibited on Robins Air Force Base except in areas that have a sign designating it as a Tobacco Use Area. If there is no sign designating an area as a tobacco use area, there is no authorized smoking in that area, this includes parking lots and side-walks.
Employees and dependents at Robins Air Force Base, utilizing Tri-Care or any of the existing Federal Employee Health Benefits Plans are 100 percent covered for Tobacco Cessation Programs to include counseling services and the use of medications at no cost to themselves. Employees and family members of Robins Air Force Base can take tobacco cessation classes through the Health Promotions Flight at Bldg. 827 by calling 478-327-8480 to enroll. Tobacco users who enroll for tobacco cessation classes with the Health Promotions Flight during the Month of November and December will receive a support package during the Program.
Editor's note: For more information call Stuart Bapties at the Health and Wellness Center at 478-327-8480 or Angela Law at Civilian Health Promotions at 478-327-8030.