S.O.S

To raise awareness for Lung Cancer Awareness Month, Governor Asa Hutchinson, Stamp Out Smoking, and the Arkansas Department of Health are encouraging tobacco users across the state to stamp out smoking for good. Arkansas colleges around the state are being encouraged to celebrate the 39th annual Great American Smokeout (GASO) on November 19th by joining the 1Day Stand through the Tobacco Free College Campus Initiative. Governor Asa Hutchins officially proclaimed November 19th as Great American Smokeout Day in Arkansas. The 1Day Stand encourages colleges to adopt more strict smoke- and tobacco-free campus policies, as well as educate students of the benefits of a tobacco-free life. Cigarette smoke is the primary cause of lung cancer diagnosis across the United States. Additionally, lung cancer surpasses any other cancer deaths in both men and women. Although quitting is difficult, there are perks to tossing out tobacco. “Within minutes of quitting, blood pressure returns to normal. Within 12 hours, carbon monoxide levels in blood begin to drop, enabling oxygen to better reach important organs and tissues. During three to nine months of quitting, lung function improves while coughing and shortness of breath begin to decrease,” said Dr. Gary Wheeler, Chief Medical Officer, at the Arkansas Department of Health. “Setting a quit date is only the first step to breathing easier and the body will do the rest,” Dr. Wheeler added. Currently, 24.7% adults in Arkansas smoke, down from 25.9% in 2014.While any decrease in this rate is a success, there is still much to be done to improve tobacco use rates in Arkansas. There are many factors that can help with this feat. The raise in awareness and participation in events like GASO can help decrease the number of lung cancer diagnoses and other tobacco-related illnesses. In Arkansas, many college campuses have comprehensive smoke- and tobacco-free policies already in place. However, a healthy life should be experienced on- and off-campus, and students are encouraged to take the 1Day Stand pledge to live tobacco- and nicotine-free lives year-round. “Quitting tobacco use is hard to do, but there is help available,” said Shelia Garrett, Cessation Section Chief of the Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Program at the Arkansas Department of Health. “Arkansans can take advantage of the Arkansas Tobacco Quitline (ATQ) by calling 1-800-QUITNOW and receive free nicotine replacement therapy, such as gums, patches, or lozenges,” Garrett added. In addition to free nicotine replacement therapy, the ATQ offers one-on-one phone counseling sessions with a trained Quit Counselor to help tobacco users break their dangerous addiction at no cost, as well as text and web-based services. Quit Counselors work with the tobacco users to develop a personalized plan, select a quit date, and determine whether nicotine replacement therapy medications are needed. For more information on the 1Day Stand, visit http://tobaccofreecampus.org/1daystand.

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