Colorado Springs Military Newspaper Group

Schriever Sentinel

Great American Smokeout urges smokers to take last puff

By Staff Sgt. Patrice Clarke

50th Space Wing Public Affairs

What a difference a day makes. Ferris Bueller was able to take in a game at Wrigley Field, visit the Sears Tower and the Art institute of Chicago and even take part in the Von Steuben Day parade. Bueller’s day was packed full of excitement and hi-jinxs in those 24 hours.

Schriever members can accomplish a lot in one day including kicking an old habit, like smoking.

The Schriever Health and Wellness Center and the American Cancer Society are asking all smokers to make the commitment to quit smoking for one 24-hour period during the 36th Annual Great American Smokeout, today. The program encourages smokers to use the date to make a plan to quit or plan in advance and quit smoking that day.

Tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the U.S., yet more than 46 million Americans continue to smoke. According to the American Cancer Society, more than half of these smokers have attempted to quit for at least one day in the past year.

“We really want to encourage smokers to quit for a full day,” said Chris Woodruff, Schriever HAWC health promotions educator. “The health benefits alone should be enough to get someone to quit.”

According to the National Cancer Institute, quitting smoking for just one day has immediate health benefits. Within a few hours, the level of carbon monoxide in the blood begins to decline. (Carbon monoxide reduces the blood’s ability to carry oxygen.) A persons’ heart rate and blood pressure, which are abnormally high while smoking, begin to return to normal. Within a few weeks, people who have quit smoking have improved circulation, produce less phlegm and have an improved sense of smell.

Not to mention the improved lung function people who have been smoke free for several months enjoy. That can really come in handy at Colorado’s high elevation.

“Military members already have to acclimate to the altitude to be successful on their physical training test,” said Woodruff. “Why make it more difficult by being a smoker as well?”

Smokers who make the decision to quit don’t have to do it alone. The HAWC offers tobacco cessation classes to help smokers quit and quit for good.

“We offer a four-week tobacco cessation class as well as one-on-one sessions if needed,” said Woodruff.

He encourages all to give the HAWC a call to schedule the one-on-one sessions.

Smokers wishing to take the pledge to quit smoking for a day can sign up at the HAWC information table in front of the Satellite Dish Dining Facility from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., today.

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