STTAC Urges You to Quit During the Great American Smokeout

Quitting smoking isn’t easy. It takes time and a plan. You don’t have to stop smoking in one day, start with day one. The annual Great American Smokeout (GASO) event in November can be your day to start the journey toward a smoke-free life.

This year, local Reality Check youth got creative and celebrated the Great American Smokeout by creating positivity rocks together on a Zoom video chat. The rocks feature encouraging messages, supporting community members and loved ones who want to quit using tobacco.

“I want to tell people who are addicted to tobacco and trying to quit to not be discouraged. We all have to start somewhere, and you aren’t alone in this. There are resources to help you quit,” said Arianna Haskins, a member of Reality Check and a senior at Corning Painted Post High School.

Reality Check members are leaders in the movement to reduce the devastating impact of tobacco on our communities, and focus on initiatives that reduce youth tobacco use and encourage current smokers to quit.

About 32.4 million American adults still smoke cigarettes, and smoking remains the single largest preventable cause of death and illness in the world. Smoking causes an estimated 480,000 deaths every year, or about 1 in 5 deaths. And more than 16 million Americans live with a smoking-related disease.

While the rates of cigarette smoking have declined over the past several decades, from 42% in 1965 to 13.7% in 2019, the gains have been inconsistent. Some groups smoke more heavily or at higher rates and suffer disproportionately from smoking-related cancer and other diseases. These populations tend to be those who experience inequities in multiple areas of their lives, including those at lower socioeconomic levels, those without college degrees, American Indians/Alaska natives, African American/Black communities, LGBTQ communities, those in the military, those with behavioral health conditions, and others.

No matter your age or how long you’ve been smoking, quitting improves health both immediately and over the long term. Giving up smoking is a journey, and it can be hard, but you can increase your chances of success with a good plan and support. Getting help through counseling and medications doubles or even triples your chances of quitting successfully, call the NYS Smokers’ Quitline for assistance 1-866-697-8487.

The Southern Tier Tobacco Awareness Coalition and Reality Check focus on improving the health of the community through tobacco-free policy change, community mobilization, and education. For more information about STTAC or Reality Check, please contact (607)737-2858.