Great American Smokeout aims to help young people put down cigarettes

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    This week young smokers can learn from a 37-year-long movement about the effects smoking can have on a person’s health.

    Every year, the American Cancer Society hosts the Great American Smokeout, a day that encourages people across the United States to give up cigarettes for one day.

    This year, that day is Nov. 21.

    Director of Media Relations for the American Cancer Society Joy Donovan Brandon, said young adults should especially partake in the event.

    “Smoking is something that people start when they’re in college,” she said.

    Roberto Herodier, a junior finance major, wrote in an email that he smoked from age 15 to age 20.

    Herodier wrote he quit smoking due to a decline in his health. He had multiple cases of bronchitis and suffered from continuous colds and sore throats.

    “It was simply unsustainable to keep smoking,” he wrote. “I actually have a very sensitive respiratory system, so I had to either quit or die by the time I was 30.”

    Herodier wrote that he has had no relapses since quitting, and his health has vastly improved since then.

    The health benefits of quitting smoking start immediately after a person stops, according to the American Cancer Society’s website.

    A person’s heart rate and blood pressure drop back to normal levels 20 minutes after quitting, according to the website.

    The first Great American Smokeout took place in California 1976. The event led to 1 million people putting down their cigarettes for the day, according to an American Cancer Society press release.

    Now that the event has become national, it could reach up to the 43.8 million Americans who currently smoke cigarettes, according to the American Cancer Society’s website.

    A hotline is also available for people who need extra help quitting.

    The hotline is available 24 hours a day, 365 days per year, Brandon said.

    “I guess you can say we’ve been on a crusade against smoking,” she said. “There’s hardly a person that hasn’t been touched by cancer.”

    To receive help and information on quitting, visit the American Cancer Societywebsite or call 1-800-227-2345.