By Sydney Goemaat and Rose Rankin
The Great American Smokeout began in the 1970’s when smoking and secondhand smoke were recognized as being bad for you. In Randolph, Massachusetts, Arthur P. Mullaney asked people to give up cigarettes for a day and donate the money they would have spent on cigarettes to the high school scholarship funds. Today Great American Smokeout is where people encourage smokers to quit their addiction for at least a day. People also share information about the harms of smoking and secondhand smoke.
About 42 million Americans still smoke cigarettes, and tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the United States. As of 2013, there were also 12.4 million cigar smokers in the US, and over 2.3 million who smoke tobacco in pipes — other dangerous and addictive forms of tobacco. You are at higher risk for cancer when using any type of tobacco, including chewing tobacco.
The Van Buren County Youth Leadership Council (YLC) will be talking about the harms of tobacco during the Great American Smokeout on November 19, 2015. The YLC Members of Van Buren High School, will be doing some activities to show what tobacco use will do to your body. One of the activities will be the Mystery Box in the hallway by the gym lobby at lunch. This is a box where you place your hand in without looking inside, and you must touch the items inside if you dare and identify them! There will be numerous posters posted in the Van Buren High School hallways and an announcement will be made about the harms of using tobacco products.
There will also be activities taking place at the middle school at Van Buren throughout the week to educate those students about the dangers of tobacco use. Harmony High School and Jr. High will be doing posters, candle bags and popcorn bags with tobacco facts as well throughout the week.
If you are someone that is wanting to quit your addiction go to www.quitlineiowa.org or call 1-800-Quit-Now. For more information on the Great American Smokeout or YLC please contact the SAFE Coalition at 319-293-6412 or firstname.lastname@example.org.