The Great American Smokeout takes place today with the American Cancer Society asking San Diego’s 416,000 smokers to give up their cigars, cigarettes and pipes for a day.
About 200 “Survival Stations” will be set up throughout the county to help those who weaken during the day. Smokers will be given “Stop Smoking Kits,” which will include pamphlets on the hazards of smoking, a seven-day course on kicking the habit, a questionnaire that will help the smokers discover why they smoke and a lollipop to help participants “lick the habit,” said Julie Yowell, San Diego community coordinator for the cancer society.
Yowell said that the smokeout, which is San Diego’s 10th, has proven successful in the past because 24 hours is an “obtainable goal to strive for.” She said that, nationally, of the 5.5 million smokers who participated, 10% quit for good. The American Cancer Society estimates that there are 18.5 million smokers in the nation.
The stations will be at most offices of Great American First Savings Bank, Family Fitness Center, Longs Drug Store, San Diego Gas & Electric and most hospitals.
Yowell could not predict this year’s estimated turnout, but she said, “In San Diego, it’s become more of a community event.”
The “Adopt a Smoker” program will also be in effect, giving nonsmokers a chance to adopt a smoker for the day at the survival centers. Yowell said that the nonsmokers play a vital role in encouraging the smoker to quit for a day.