Dear Editor –
The WV African American Tobacco Prevention Network would like to encourage all West Virginias to celebrate the Great American Smokeout on Nov. 17. The Great American Smokeout is an opportunity for people who smoke to commit to healthy, smoke-free lives — not just for a day but year-round. The Great American Smokeout provides an opportunity for individuals, community groups, businesses, health care providers and others to encourage people to use the date to make a plan to quit or plan in advance and initiate a smoking cessation plan on the day of the event. The Great American Smokeout event challenges people to stop smoking and helps people learn about the many tools they can use to help them quit and stay quit.
We educate African Americans on how tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death and how smokers die about 10 years earlier than those who have never smoked. It has also been proven that smoking is a significant cause of heart disease, cancer and stroke, which are the three leading causes of death for African Americans. Approximately 45,000 individuals have died from a smoking-related disease. If current smoking rates persist, an estimated 1.6 million black Americans alive today under the age of 18 will become regular smokers, and 500,000 will die prematurely from a tobacco-related disease.
We challenge all tobacco users to call the WV Tobacco Quitline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW. Remember that “Knowledge is Power.” You can also visit: https://wvtobaccoquitline.com/
Rhonda Robinson, MSW