Today is the ‘Great American Smokeout'

CLARION Armstrong Indiana Clarion Drug and Alcohol Commission is encouraging tobacco users to commit or recommit to healthy, smoke-free lives by participating in the American Cancer Society's 46th annual Great American Smokeout event on Nov. 18.

Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States, accounting for 29 percent of all cancer deaths. In fact, smoking cigarettes kills more Americans than alcohol, car accidents, HIV, guns, and illegal drugs combined.

Smoking not only causes cancer. It damages nearly every organ in the body, including the lungs, heart, blood vessels, reproductive organs, mouth, skin, eyes, and bones.

Addiction to nicotine in cigarettes and vaping devices is one of the strongest and most deadly addictions one can have. Ninety-Nine percent of all vaping juices and pods contain nicotine.

While cigarette smoking rates have dropped from 20.9 percent in 2005 to 14 percent in 2019, about 34.1 million Americans still smoke cigarettes. Each year, approximately 20 million American smokers try to quit, representing more than half of the 34.1 million smokers in the U.S., only about 1.4 million (7 percent) succeed; an even greater percentage of smokers (68 percent) report being interested in quitting.

Teen electronic cigarette use has skyrocketed by 80 percent over the past year, and 68 individuals have died due to effects of vaping nationally.

It has been reported in 2018; more than 3.6 million U.S. middle and high school students used e-cigarettes in the past 30 days.

In 2017, 2.8 percent of U.S. adults were current e-cigarette users. According to the Pennsylvania Youth Survey data, 26.3 percent of Clarion County students in sixth-, eighth-, 10th-, and 12th-grades have vaped in the past 30 days, which is higher than the state average.

From these grade levels in Clarion County, 48.4 percent believed they were just vaping flavoring, 59.1 percent said nicotine, 13 percent said they vaped marijuana, 1.6 percent said other substances, and 12.5 percent said they did not know what they were vaping.

Quitting any type of tobacco product is hard. It takes commitment and starts with a plan, often takes more than one quit attempt, and requires a lot of support.

Getting help through counseling and/or prescription medications can double or triple your chances of quitting successfully. Support is also important.

Smoking cessation programs, telephone quit lines, the American Cancer Society's Freshstart program, Nicotine Anonymous meetings, self-help materials such as books and pamphlets, and smoking counselors or coaches can be a great help.

Armstrong Indiana Clarion Drug and Alcohol Commission is partnering with the American Cancer Society to provide information about the 24 hours a day, seven days a week quit line to provide support as people make their plan to stop.

For free vaping cessation resources, please visit mylifemyquit.com or text "Start My Quit" to (855) 891-9989. More information about smoking cessation is available at cancer.org/smokeout or by calling (800) 227-2345 to quit smoking. For Clarion County services, please contact AICDAC at (814) 226-6350.

For information from another Clarion County resource, contact Northwest Pennsylvania Tobacco Control Program at (814) 758-1919.

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