PASCO COUNTY, Fla. – The annual Great American Smokeout is on Nov. 19, and the Florida Department of Health in Pasco County (DOH-Pasco) Tobacco Prevention Program is using this observance to encourage people to make a plan to quit smoking using the free tools and services available to Floridians.
Tracing its history back more than 40 years, the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout marks a date when smokers are encouraged to use the date to either make a plan or to begin their quit journey. Quitting smoking can add up to 10 years to life expectancy. The health benefits of quitting smoking include reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke, improving lung function and lowering the chances of getting an array of different cancers. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) adds that smoking may increase your risk of severe illness related to COVID-19.
In addition to a healthier body, quitting smoking can lead to a healthier wallet. One year after quitting smoking, a former pack-a-day smoker can save over $2,200, based on today’s prices. Over five years, this adds up to a savings of over $11,000.
The DOH-Pasco Tobacco Prevention Program will be collaborating with DOH-Pasco in Dade City, New Port Richey, Hudson, and Wesley Chapel in observance of the Great American Smokeout. Each location will dispense Tobacco-Free Resources and Quitline information to community members, partners, and DOH-Pasco employees. We would like to take this time to encourage anyone who smokes to make a plan to quit during the Great American Smokeout. Even if you’ve tried in the past, try again and don’t give up.
Employers across Pasco County can also use the Great American Smokeout as a time to encourage employees who smoke to consider quit plans. In addition to the health benefits, businesses also stand to gain when employees quit using tobacco.
A recent report found that an employee who uses tobacco can cost his or her company thousands of dollars each year in health costs, distraction at the worksite, increased medical costs, higher insurance, and other expenses.
Employees who smoke are much more prone to absenteeism than those who don’t, with even former smokers who quit within the last three years costing employers an average of $1,327.53 less each year.
“We’ve known for years about the serious impact tobacco has on business, on lives, and on families,” said Kayla Jones-Willis, Tobacco Prevention Specialist. “That’s why Tobacco Free Florida makes available for all Floridian’s services like Web Quit, Phone Quit and Group Quit and nicotine replacement therapy – all completely free and regardless of insurance. There are so many great reasons to quit – and the Great American Smokeout provides a perfect time to help someone begin their quit journey.”
Information on the history of the Great American Smokeout, national activities to support quitting and other materials can be found at
https://www.cancer.org/healthy/stay-away-from-tobacco/great-american-smokeout.html. Tobacco Free Florida’s quit tips, tools and more are available by visiting www.tobaccofreeflorida.com or by calling 1-877-U-CAN-NOW.