“The most important thing smokers can do to improve their health is to quit smoking,” said Jennifer Newman, R.N., BSN, cPT, director of Cardiac Services.

Lake Regional Health System encourages all people who smoke to commit or recommit to a healthy, smoke-free life during the American Cancer Society’s 43rd Great American Smokeout® event on Nov. 15.

“The most important thing smokers can do to improve their health is to quit smoking,” said Jennifer Newman, R.N., BSN, cPT, director of Cardiac Services. “Lake Regional is committed to helping people in our community overcome this addiction.”

The theme for Great American Smokeout 2018 is “Day 1.”

“This theme acknowledges that quitting smoking isn’t easy,” Newman said. “It’s a process. It takes time and a plan. It also takes lots of support.”

The Great American Smokeout isn’t necessarily the day for smokers to quit smoking. It’s the day for smokers to start their journey toward a smoke-free life.

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 is one of the strongest and most deadly addictions.

Although cigarette smoking rates have dropped (from 42% in 1965 to 15.5% in 2016), about 37.8 million Americans smoke cigarettes. Each year, approximately 20 million American smokers try to quit, representing more than half of U.S. smokers. Only about 1.4 million succeed. An even greater percentage of smokers (68%) report being interested in quitting.

Getting help through counseling or prescription medications can double or triple a person’s 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.

Lake Regional Health System offers a monthly support group to help people quit smoking. Commit to Quit meets at 10 a.m. on most Saturdays. If you plan to attend a meeting, please call 573-302-2253 by the Thursday before to confirm the group is meeting that week.

“No matter how long you have smoked, it’s never too late to quit,” Newman said. “We are here to help.”    

More information on the Great American Smokeout is available at www.cancer.org/smokeout or by calling 1-800-227-2345.

Lake Regional Health System provides comprehensive health care services to residents and visitors throughout the mid-Missouri region. The hospital is a Level II Stroke Center, Level II STEMI (heart attack) Center and Level III Trauma Center. Lake Regional also provides a wide range of specialties, including cancer care, heart care, orthopedics and women’s health. Plus, Lake Regional operates primary care clinics, Express Care clinics, rehab therapy clinics, programs for home health and hospice, and retail pharmacies. 

To learn more, visit www.lakeregional.com.