Great American Smokeout
By Lt. Col. Patrick O'Neill, 460th Medical Group
/ Published November 06, 2009
BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- This year's Great American Smokeout is Nov. 19. The object of this program is for smokers to think about quitting, develop a personal plan to quit and give up smoking for a day (hopefully forever).
Smoking is the most preventable cause of death in our society. The cost of tobacco to society is best measured by the number of people who die or suffer illness because of its use. One in five Americans die each year from tobacco. The annual American death toll is estimated at 420,000. Tobacco use also drains the U.S. economy of more than $100 billion in health care cost and lost productivity.
During the Great American Smokeout, it is estimated that millions of smokers will try to quit smoking for at least 24 hours. 75 percent of all smokers have tried to stop at least once and many have tried three or four times.
Quitting involves more than throwing cigarettes away. It's a process with five distinct steps, "the stages of change."
- Pre-contemplation stage: quitting doesn't even enter the mind.
- Contemplation stage: one begins to think about quitting
- Preparation stage: the "cons" of quitting win out. The smoker is committed to quitting and maps out a plan.
- Action stage: one begins to implement the preparation stage plans. The quitter avoids those things that encourage smoking.
- Maintenance stage: the quitter is ready to take the changes of the preparation stage and make them permanent.
Moving from stage to stage can take months, even years. The 460th Medical Group offers tobacco cessation assistance. Ideally, the clinic staff would like to see smokers who are in the "preparation" stage to help the member with the details of their quit plan. This program is designed for both smokers and smokeless tobacco-users. Therapy is available to help ensure success. The program is open to all active duty members and military beneficiaries. For more information about the program call 720-847-WELL (9355).