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November 21, 2013

A Good Day to Be a Quitter

Annual Great American Smokeout aims to get smokers to kick the habit for good

By BRIAN SMITH

Today is the annual Great American Smokeout, where Americans are encouraged to quit smoking for a day in an attempt to spur more people to quit permanently.

Studies have shown that at any given time, two thirds of all smokers are considering quitting. A quarter will make a serious attempt each year – many as a New Year’s resolution. But just 7 percent will be successful in the first try. 

In many cases, it takes something traumatic in a person’s life, such as the loss of a loved one to cancer or other diseases, to get them to stop. Smoking is the No. 1 cause of preventable death in the U.S. but studies show it takes an average of seven attempts before a smoker is actually able to quit.

Joe Larson is a smoker who has tried to quit, but said he “hasn’t quite gotten over the hump yet.” Smoking a cigarette while fueling his truck at a local gas station Wednesday, Larson said he began smoking at the age of 12 as a result of peer pressure, and said he has averaged a pack a day for the last 35 years.

Larson says he has “quit” four or five times over the years, trying a nicotine patch or simply going cold turkey, but says his fear of getting fat drives him back to the cigarette.

“Smoking is a bad thing, that’s for sure, but so are the complications from eating too much or drinking, too,” Larson said. “Everyone’s got their vice and this is mine, I guess.”

Lee Ann Adams gives praise to God for helping her quit smoking.

“It was about eight or 10 years ago and I was listening to a guest speaker at Bethany Fellowship Church saying how the body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, which I had heard before,” Adams recalled. “Something clicked at that moment, though, and I got the cigarettes out of my purse, raised them above my head and threw them down on the ground at the speaker’s feet.”

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