Woodward, Okla. —
OKLAHOMA CITY - To encourage people to quit smoking, the Oklahoma Foundation for Medical Quality (OFMQ) is asking for participation in the Great American Smokeout Thursday.
Sponsored by the American Cancer Society (ACH), this will be the 37th Smokeout.
"By quitting, even if it's just for this one day, smokers will be taking an important step toward a healthier life and a reduction in cancer risk," said Dr. Glenn Lytle, medical director of OFMQ.
He said he was touched directly by the effects of smoking 39 years ago when his father died at age 60 from smoke-related vascular disease. And that was 10 years before his mother's death related to lung cancer from smoking.
OFMQ hopes the Smokeout will encourage smokers to make a plan to quit, or to plan in advance and quit smoking on this day.
"Our organization (OFMQ) is committed to health care and the improving of life in Oklahoma," said Melissa Hill, OFMQ marketing director. "We have observed and assisted with the Great American Smokeout frequently in the past."
"Oklahoma consistently ranks among the worst states regarding smoking, with about 25 percent of residents over age 18 lighting up," said Dr. Lytle. "That's more than 677,000 individuals."
Using tobacco remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and death in the U.S., noted OFMQ .
For help to quit, OFMQ encourages calling the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline, (800) QUIT NOW (784-8669), and going to the ACH at http://www.cancer.org/healthy/stayawayfromtobacco/greatamericansmokeout/index.
A few of the steps suggested for the day include:
- Getting rid of the cigarettes and ashtrays in your home, car and work.
- Stocking up on oral substitutes, like sugarless gum, toothpicks, carrot sticks, hard candy, cinnamon sticks, coffee stirrers or straws.
- Practice saying, "No thanks. I don't smoke."
Hill said the organization began in 1972 as an overseer of health care facility quality. OFMQ has expanded to include reviews of doctors' office and nursing home practices.
"We work to help the medical community with its contributions of life-saving efforts," she said.
"Did you know, a cigarette is the only consumer product, when used as directed, will kill that consumer?" Lytle said. "This means that sooner or later, everyone stops smoking. We'd like to make it sooner."