Local anti-tobacco activists are encouraging smokers to take the smokeout challenge. They say if local smokers can prove to themselves that they can quit for just one day, that success will translate into months, years and eventually a whole new smoke-free lifestyle.
Eric Mathis, who pledges not to use tobacco products, was the first of many pledges collected around south Georgia Monday. For folks like Eric, saying no to tobacco is a life or death decision.
Eric says, "I know it's very detrimental to my health. My mom smoked for so many years and she actually died of lung cancer. This is something that is strongly engraved in my mind and I won't start smoking."
But how many tobacco users will really kick their habit on this smokeout day?
Kenyarda Moore, spokesperson for the South Health District, says, "Actually, it's been shown that more smokers quit on Great American Smokeout Day than any other day of the year including New Year's Eve."
Speaking of the holidays, health officials say kicking the habit is the best holiday gift smokers and other tobacco users can give to themselves and their loved ones.
Kenyarda adds, "A lot of people may start thinking about New Year's resolutions at the beginning of the year. They might turn over a new leaf and lose weight or quit smoking, so this is very important at this time of year to start putting the idea in people's minds."
That's why Lowndes County is celebrating The Great American Smokeout with pledges from local tobacco users all week long, and this week also marks the third anniversary of Georgia's Tobacco Quit Line.
Health officials say more than 35,000 Georgians have benefited from the services of the quit line.
Overview of Tobacco Use
Source: http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/overview/30yrs2t.htm (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).