The American Cancer Society initiated the Great American Smokeout in 1977 to draw attention to risks associated with tobacco. More Americans quit smoking on Nov. 16 than any other day of the year, including New Year’s Day, according to a press release from the Pennyrile District Health Department, Several activities to celebrate this year’s event were arranged by students who are members of Health Occupations Students of America. The high school’s HOSA president, Callie Karrigan, said that during the morning announcements, students will be informed that they can sign up for a non-smoking pledge in at the booth in the lobby. They will be asked to fill out a short survey and will be given information about the dangers of tobacco use. She said there would also be a novelty basketball goal set up at the HOSA booth so students can score a “slam dunk” against tobacco.
Karrigan said students who sign the pledge to be tobacco-free for a day will have their names entered to win a $50 gift certificate from Wal-Mart. They will be handed a sheet with the headline “50 Things You Should Know About Tobacco,” which contains numerous facts and figures.
“A lot of times, you hear, ‘Don’t smoke, it’s bad for you,’” said HOSA member Morgan Alexander, who was one of several members to collaborate on the event. “We’re giving reasons to back it up.
The pledge itself reads, “I Won’t Smoke Today Because…” and lists 38 different reasons to quit and ways the pledge-taker’s lives would improve by abstaining from cigarettes and tobacco products. Some of these phrases include “I don’t want emphysema,” “I owe it to my family,” “I don’t need a cigarette to feel confident,” “I’ll protect my pets too,” “My teeth will be whiter,” “I’m tired of the constant craving,” “My hair will smell better,” “My energy will go up,” and “If 40 million people can do it, so can I.”
For the rest of this story, read this week's Cadiz Record.