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Smokeout aims to educate about risk

Secondhand smoke can be dangerous, even for those who don’t live in a house with a smoker. Cigarette smoke can drift from neighboring apartments, along plumbing and electrical lines and into common areas like laundry rooms. Even that small amount of exposure can pose a health threat.

In an effort to educate the public about the dangers of secondhand smoke, the Mississippi Tobacco-Free Coalition of Copiah and Lincoln counties is working this week to bring awareness to those living in multi-unit housing.

“The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) recently ruled to restrict smoking in public housing,” said Mieshia Smith, project director MTFC of Copiah and Lincoln counties.

 The American Cancer Society marks The Great American Smokeout on the third Thursday of November each year (Thursday this year). “It’s a time for tobacco users to mark that date to quit for 24 hours and hopefully forever. Quitting smoking will both improve the health of the smoker and those exposed to secondhand smoke,” the organization stated.

Secondhand smoke can be deadly. More than 500 die in Mississippi each year from exposure to it.

“Non-smokers exposed to secondhand smoke at home or work increase their risk of developing heart disease by 25 to 30 percent,” said Amy Winter, director of the Office of Tobacco Control at the Mississippi State Department of Health. “Tobacco remains the single largest preventable cause of premature death in the United States.”

The argument from smokers has long been that if they want to ruin their lungs and hearts, it’s their business. No one else is getting hurt. But that’s not true. Their smoke isn’t just impacting them, it’s negatively affecting those around them.

To get help with quitting or information on the health dangers of tobacco visit www.quitlinems.com, or call the Mississippi Tobacco Quitline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW.