The third Thursday in November has been deemed, the "Great American Smokeout" by The American Cancer Society. It is nationally recognized as a day to encourage smokers to make a plan to quit, or to plan in advance and quit smoking that day.
So today at George Mason University we celebrated it with a great three hour program targeting both smokers and non-smokers. I was lucky enough to help with planning and executing the event. We had stations with different activities that allowed participants to learn about the stages of quitting and tips on how to help a love one quit.
When people discuss the harm caused by cigarettes, they usually focus on the connection between smoking and cancer. However, there are a list of other detrimental side effects that smoking cigarettes can lead to. Did you know smoking could cause blindness? Yup, you read that correctly blindness! This includes cataracts, age related macular degeneration, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, and dry eye syndrome.
The most fulfilling part of the event was receiving the chance to interact with smokers. One guy quit three days ago and said he doesn't know how long he can go smoke free because he always feels the need to have something in his mouth. He has been a smoker for two years and has tried to quit in the past but wasn't able to last long. Luckily, we were prepared with some resourceful quit kits including silly putty, lollipops, tea, sudoku, and gum. I told him every time he thinks about smoking, go to his quit kit and reminisce on our conversation because my team is rooting for him to refrain from smoking.
If you are a smoker, I challenge you to not smoke for at least 24 hours.
If you aren't a smoker, I challenge you to be supportive of the smokers in your life, unless you used to smoke you have no idea how strong their addiction is. So just show them that you care about their health and are willing to stand by them every step of the way if they are ready to quit.
How would you approach someone to ask them to stop smoking?
Have you ever tried to convince a loved one to quit smoking?