Watertown Tobacco Free Coalition (WTFC) is encouraging parents and community members to commit or recommit to healthy, smoke-free lives by participating in the American Cancer Society’s 43rd Great American Smokeout® event on Thursday, Nov. 15.“The most important thing smokers can do to improve their health is to quit smoking cigarettes and other forms of combustible tobacco,” said Kelli Rumpza, Community Prevention Specialist. “We are showing our support for people who take those first steps toward making a plan to quit.”According to the American Cancer Society, cigarette smoking is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States, accounting for 29 percent of all cancer deaths. In fact, smoking cigarettes kills more Americans than alcohol, car accidents, HIV, guns and illegal drugs combined. Smoking not only causes cancer. It damages nearly every organ in the body, including the lungs, heart, blood vessels, reproductive organs, mouth, skin, eyes and bones.Addiction to nicotine in cigarettes is one of the strongest and most deadly addictions one can have. While cigarette smoking rates have dropped (from 42 percent in 1965 to 15.5 percent in 2016), about 37.8 million Americans smoke cigarettes. Each year, approximately 20 million American smokers try to quit, representing more than half of the 37.8 million smokers in the U.S. Only about 1.4 million (7 percent) succeed. An even greater percentage of smokers (68 percent) report being interested in quitting.Quitting is hard. It takes commitment and starts with a plan, often takes more than one quit attempt and requires a lot of support. Getting help through counseling and/or prescription medications can double or triple your chances of quitting successfully.Support is also important. Smoking cessation programs, telephone quit lines, the American Cancer Society’s Freshstart program, Nicotine Anonymous meetings, self-help materials such as books and pamphlets and smoking counselors or coaches can be a great help.The South Dakota QuitLine (1-866-SD-QUITS) offers free, individualized telephone counseling sessions provided by trained health coaches for South Dakotans who want to quit tobacco, as well as free written materials and cessation medications.Kickstart your quit plan with the two-week Nicotine Replacement (NRT) Kickstart Kit + Quit Guide or just the Quit Guide. They’re both free and you don’t have to enroll in the QuitLine phone coaching program to get them. The first two weeks of a quit attempt are often the most difficult. The right medication can really help reduce those pesky cravings and can even double your chances of success. Visit sdquitline.com/home/kickstart to get your Kickstart Kit. It includes free patches, gum or lozenges and a Quit Guide.BeFreeSD.com is designed to promote a healthier life for all South Dakotans. Explore the facts and find new tools to help you and those you love to live, work, learn and play tobacco free.RethinkTobacco.com is a tobacco prevention and cessation website for teens and young adults. Resources include educational materials and toolkits for K-12 and post-secondary institutions, tobacco industry marketing facts, information regarding emerging tobacco products and online games. The Rethink Tobacco Facebook Page — facebook.com/TobaccoRethinkIt — was developed to compliment the website and is geared toward prevention efforts among youth and young adults.SDQuitLine.com provides information on available services, quit tips, resources and provider information. The QuitLine Facebook Page — facebook.com/SDQuitLine — provides an interactive place for South Dakotans to exchange quitting resources, ideas and information.FindYourPowerSD.com was developed to help American Indian tribes fight against commercial tobacco. It provides American Indian-specific information and resources, including brochures, posters, a Tribal Tobacco Policy Toolkit and smoke-free signage.To further assist with your quit plan, WTFC Coalition has FREE Quit Kits available. If you are an individual interested in receiving a Quit Kit or if you are an employer looking to provide these as a resource to your employees, please call the Human Service Agency in Watertown at 605-886-0123.“WTFC wants to help the people in our community to be healthy and happy,” said Rumpza. “During this year’s Great American Smokeout® event, we hope everyone will join us — and encourage their friends, family and colleagues to join us — in committing or recommitting to year-around, smoke-free lives.”For more information, contact the NE Prevention Resource Center at the Human Service Agency at 605-884-3516 or visit humanserviceagency.org/NEPrevention. To stay informed, follow us on Facebook at facebook.com/NEPRC.HSA or Twitter at twitter.com/NE_Prevention.

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