Men's Health, Stay Well, Women's Health

The Great American Smokeout Helps Hawaii Smokers Kick Butts

Throughout November, community organizations across Hawaii will host events to celebrate the American Cancer Society’s 37th annual Great American Smokeout. Held on Nov 15, 2012, the Great American Smokeout is an annual nationwide event created by the American Cancer Society to encourage smokers to start their new year’s resolution a little early and designate Nov. 15 as the day to quit smoking or to make a plan to quit smoking.

“Tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the U.S., but more than 45 million Americans still smoke,” said Jackie Young, PhD, Chief Staff Officer, American Cancer Society Hawai`i Pacific. “Quitting smoking is the most important thing you can do for your health and the Great American Smokeout is a great way to start.”

This year’s Great American Smokeout events include:

Thursday, November 15:  University Health Services-Manoa Health Promotion Office will host the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout health fair themed, “Clean Air, Clean Aina.” The event will run from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the University of Hawaii-Manoa’s Campus Center Mall and will feature interactive games, displays, free giveaways and prizes. Other participating organizations include Hawaii Tobacco Quitline, Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Hawaii, University of Hawaii School of Dental Hygiene, University of Hawaii Student Recreation Service, UHM Public Health Hui Ola Pono, American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, Waikiki Health Center, Hawaii Bone Marrow Donor Registry and Blood Bank of Hawaii. For more information, contact Lisa Kehl or Kristen Scholly at (808) 956-3574.  University of Hawaii-Manoa’s Campus Center – 2465 Campus Road, Honolulu, HI  96822

Thursday, Nov. 15: The University of Hawaii Maui College campus will host the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout health awareness fair. From 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., attendees can enjoy live music featuring Lia Live and the Kryptones and access to basic health resources and information. Additionally, the University of Hawaii Maui College Culinary Arts program will host a turkey dinner luncheon providing attendees with an early holiday feast, for a small charge. University of Hawaii, Maui College – 310 West Kaahumanu Ave., Kahului, HI  96732

Wednesday, Nov. 28: Great American Smokeout and Tobacco-Free Kauai are teaming up to host the annual meeting from 5 – 6 p.m. at Kalapaki Joe’s in Lihue. Kalapaki Joe’s – 3501 Rice Street #208, Lihue, HI 96766

Tobacco use in the U.S. accounts for at least 30 percent of all cancer deaths and 80 percent of lung cancer deaths. Lung cancer, caused primarily from smoking, leads to more deaths every year in Hawai`i than do breast, prostate, and colorectal cancers combined.

In the U.S., tobacco use is responsible for nearly 1 in 5 deaths, or about 443,000 premature deaths each year. Smokers who quit, regardless of age, live longer than people who continue to smoke. In just 20 minutes after quitting smoking, heart rate and blood pressure drop, and in about 1 to 9 months after quitting, coughing and shortness of breath decrease.

The American Cancer Society created the trademarked concept for and held its first Great American Smokeout in 1976 as a way to inspire and encourage smokers to quit for a day.  One million people quit smoking for a day at the 1976 event in California. The Great American Smokeout encourages smokers to commit to making a long-term plan to quit smoking for good. Find tips and tools online to help you quit smoking for good.

Important facts about tobacco use from The Tobacco Atlas, Fourth Edition, newly published by the American Cancer Society and World Lung Foundation:

  • Cigarette smoking costs the United States more than $193 billion (i.e., $97 billion in lost productivity plus $96 billion in health care expenditures).
  • In 2011, tobacco use killed almost 6 million people, with nearly 80 percent of these deaths occurring in low- and middle-income countries.
  • An estimated 600,000 people die annually because of secondhand smoke.