The Great American Smoke Out (GASO) is an annual intervention event on the third Thursday of November by the American Cancer Society. Thousands of people who smoke across the country use this day as their first step toward a healthier life without smoking. Newaygo County’s “BreatheWell” Coalition supports the GASO through promoting information and local resources to help people quit.
The US Surgeon General has said, “Smoking cessation [stopping smoking] represents the single most important step that smokers can take to enhance the length and quality of their lives.” Tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the country, according to the American Cancer Society. The Great American Smoke Out challenges people to quit on that day, or to use the day to make a plan to quit.
“Newaygo County is fortunate to have a strong coalition of educators and tobacco treatment specialists to help our community members learn about the devastating health effects of smoking and vaping. We are also here to help support their efforts to quit,” states Caitlin Mitchell-Schucker, Tobacco Treatment Specialist at Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial and BreatheWell Coalition Chair.
“Even during this time of limited in-person gatherings due to Covid-19, our Tobacco Treatment Specialists are helping people quit by phone or through virtual classes,” said Caitlin.
Covid-19 impacts the health of people who smoke in other ways as well. According to the World Health Organization, smoking is associated with increased rates of severe COVID-19 infections and death.
“Quitting the addiction of tobacco, whether it is from smoking, vaping or chew, is not easy. But the first steps are to learn what can work for you and get the help and support that you need. The Great American Smoke Out is a great time to take these first steps,” added Shelly Klochack, RN, also a Tobacco Treatment Specialist at Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial.
To learn more about GASO and how to take your Day 1 First Step, visit:
Great American SmokeOut (https://www.cancer.org/healthy/stay-away-from-tobacco/great-american-smokeout.html).
For information on local quit classes, phone and virtual counseling, contact Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial Tobacco Treatment Specialists: Shelly Klochack, RN, 231-924-3275; or Caitlin Mitchell-Schucker, 231-924-7589.