Smokeout is back with help for millions

November 19, 1998|By Lesly Borge | Lesly Borge,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

On last year's Great American Smokeout, 11 million smokers -- 24 percent of them -- tried to kick the habit. Five days later, 2 million smokers reported that they were smoking less or not at all.

Today, smokers can try it again. It's the 22nd annual Great American Smokeout, sponsored by the American Cancer Society.

Out of 47 million smokers, 32 million want to quit, according to a 1996 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse, released last ** year.

Despite the various lawsuits against tobacco companies and the subsequent negative publicity, smoking among college students is up 28 percent, the Journal of the American Medical Association reported yesterday. A 1995 Youth Risk Behavior Survey found that smoking was up 14 percent among high school students, to 16 percent.

As for other age groups, "There is suspicion, based on studies from California, that because of the publicity on tobacco use people are changing their use of tobacco products. Unfortunately there isn't enough data to tell whether people are quitting," said Eric Galley, an anti-smoking lobbyist for Galley Public Affairs.

The American Cancer Society sponsors two cessation programs: Teens Against Tobacco Use and Make Yours A Fresh Start Family.

"TATU trains adults to teach smoking cessation to teen-agers, ,, who then turn around and teach children in elementary school about the dangers of smoking," said Judy Miller, assistant communications director for the American Cancer Society in Baltimore.

Make Yours A Fresh Start Family is directed toward pregnant women or mothers of young children. "We work through physicians and medical personnel who give one-on-one counseling to these women," said Miller.

Smokeout events

American Cancer Society: For information on cessation programs, call 800-ACS-2345.

"Tackling Tobacco": A cessation program offered by former U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop can be found at www.drkoop.com, along with other anti-smoking information.

A sampling of Great American Smokeout events in the area:

Dunbar High School, 1400 Orleans St. 10 a.m., 11: 25 a.m. and 1: 25 p.m. Students present cheer/rap to students changing classes, urging them not to smoke.

Maryland General Hospital, 827 Linden Ave. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Blood-pressure screenings and showing of "Marlboro Man" video. Piggy banks will be handed out to smokers to urge them to save the money they normally spend on tobacco products.

Frederick County: TAP (Tobacco Awareness Program), an eight-week cessation program, will be started in New Market School and Urbana and Brunswick high schools.

Pub Date: 11/19/98

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