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Partners celebrate Great American Smokeout, November 16

In honor of the Great American Smokeout, Thursday, Nov. 16, the Knox County Health Department (KCHD) and Smoke-Free Knoxville are appealing to the community to congratulate those who have quit and encourage others to join them. Created by the American Cancer Society, the Great American Smokeout takes place on the third Thursday of November every year. The national observation is designed to encourage smokers to use the date to make a plan to quit, or plan in advance and quit smoking that day.

“We’re here to support anyone trying to break a nicotine addiction and move toward a life free from smoking, dipping or vaping,” said Michael Thomas, manager in KCHD’s Tobacco Use Prevention and Control Program. “We know how difficult it can be to quit, so whether it’s calling us, the QuitLine or talking with a health care provider, we encourage everyone to learn about all the available options that can help you succeed.”

Quit resources and information:
• Tennessee Tobacco QuitLine: 1-800-QUIT-NOW
• KCHD and local resources for those trying to quit: 865-215-5445
• Training for health care providers in the 5As approach for tobacco interventions: 865-215-5170
• The Smoke-Free Knoxville Coalition:

Tobacco use is the largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the U.S. Reducing tobacco use is one of the priority health issues outlined in KCHD’s Community Health Assessment. Tobacco use in youth and pregnant women, as well as the increased use of vaping products are areas of concern in the assessment. In fact, e-cigarette use among middle and high school students tripled from 2013 to 2014, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2017, 24.5 percent of public high school students in Knox County reported they used a tobacco product. In 2014, more than 21 percent of Knox County adults reported smoking cigarettes.

The benefits of quitting can begin almost immediately. A smoker’s heart rate and blood pressure drop just 20 minutes after stopping, and carbon monoxide levels in blood drop to normal after 12 hours. Those who stop for two to three months experience improved circulation and lung function. And after five years, the risk of various cancers is about half that of a person who is still smoking.

Published November 14, 2017

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