Great American Smoke-out looks for smokers who want to snuff out habit ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY HEALTH

November 17, 1992|By Deidre Nerreau McCabe | Deidre Nerreau McCabe,Staff Writer

Listen up, huffers and puffers.

You know who you are. You're the ones standing outside in 20-degree weather to have a cigarette because your office has banned smoking.

You're the ones who have tried everything to quit, and nothing works.

On Thursday, you'll get another chance to kick the habit.

The American Cancer Society is sponsoring its 16th annual Great American Smoke-out with a variety of activities to help smokers make it through the day without taking a puff.

North Arundel Hospital is offering respiratory and blood pressure screenings, and the Cancer Society is setting up an information booth in the hospital lobby.

Harbor Hospital in South Baltimore is offering the new "NiCoQuit Program," which involves doctors, support groups and behavior modification techniques.

And the Coast Guard Yard at Curtis Bay is sponsoring an "adopt-a-smoker" program Thursday morning to pair non-smokers with smokers to help them make it through the day.

Cancer Society officials figure that if smokers can make it through 24 hours without tobacco they might realize they can quit for good, explained Sandy Esslinger, director of public education for the Baltimore area.

Last year, 35 percent of the nation's 50 million smokers participated in the smoke-out, said Ms. Esslinger, with 11 percent remaining smoke-free three days later.

The Cancer Society does not have long-term statistics showing how many people stay off cigarettes for good, but Ms. Esslinger thinks the smoke-out is producing more and more success stories each year.

"Every year, it's easier to locate people who stopped smoking during the Great American Smoke-out and have remained smoke-free," she said. "They are definitely adding up."

Lynn Whitall, program coordinator for the American Lung Association in Anne Arundel County and southern Maryland, said 85 percent of 168,000 new lung cancer victims that will be diagnosed before this year is out will be smokers.

To combat the trend, the Lung Association offers smoking cessation programs throughout the year. In January, it will offer its six-week "Freedom From Smoking Clinic" at five locations in Anne Arundel County for a reduced fee.

The organization also has produced an audiotape with strategies for quitting and handling relapses.

For more information about the Great American Smoke-out and events planned for Thursday, call the Maryland chapter of the American Cancer Society at (410) 931-6868 or (800) ACS-2345. For information about the American Lung Association's clinics or to order the audiotape, call (800) 492-7527.

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