Airmen, Guardians encouraged to drop habit during Great American Smokeout

  • Published
  • By Michael Papio, 88th Medical Group
  • 501st Combat Support Wing Public Affairs

Are you willing to make the effort to quit for a day? What do you have to lose? It’s only a day. You can do it. 

This year’s Great American Smokeout began Nov. 18. This year’s theme is “Day 1.” It’s a day when thousands of people can begin their journey toward a tobacco-free life.

Tobacco use is among the leading preventable causes of premature death, accounting for more than 480,000 fatalities each year in the United States. It’s also been estimated that over 30 million Americans still smoke cigarettes and about 15 million are living with a smoking-related disease. That’s a lot of people.

Smoking doesn’t just impact the person smoking — it also impacts those around them. Secondhand smoke accounts for more than 41,000 deaths per year.

“My Day 1 was 21 years ago and it was one of the best decisions of my life,” said Col. Lisa Wildman, 501st Combat Support Wing vice commander. “The negative effects of smoking are enormous. Not only does it impact your overall health but your wallet also takes a hit. I have saved over $60,000 by committing to my Day 1. 

“And it goes beyond that as the consequences can stretch outside the person smoking and effect those around you, like your family, friends and teammates. The health of our Airmen and Guardians is critical because they are the most important part of the mission.  Quitting smoking was one of the hardest things I have done but thankfully, I didn’t have to do it alone.  I signed up for a smoking cessation class and took advantage of the tools offered by the Air Force.  If I can do it, I know you can too.” 

These are some good reasons for anyone who smokes to use the Great American Smokeout as their first day toward a smoke-free lifestyle.

Quitting tobacco is not easy, but there are more and better tobacco-cessation aids available than ever before. According to a study in the New England Journal of Medicine, quitting before age 40 reduces your chance of dying prematurely from a smoking-related disease by 90%.

Please consider taking this first step today. If you smoke, you can quit. And we can help.

Call the 423rd Medical Squadron health promotion office, at 314-268-4603 for more information.