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Help a smoker quit for good

They call it the Great American Smokeout. Thursday is the American Cancer Society’s annual day of intervention.

According to the Mississippi Tobacco-Free Coalition of Copiah and Lincoln Counties, Thursday is an ideal day for the community to encourage their peers to stop smoking forever.

It’s easier for a smoker to quit if they have support.

“Getting help through counseling and medications doubles or even triples your chances of quitting smoking successfully,” said Amy Winter, director of the Office of Tobacco Control at the Mississippi State Department of Health. “Research shows that people who smoke are most successful in their efforts to stop smoking when they have support.”

Smoking poses a serious health risk, both to smokes and the people around them. Even third-hand smoke — residue from smokers on furniture and clothes — is dangerous, and public smoking laws have gotten increasingly strict over the years.

In Brookhaven, an ordinance passed in May makes it illegal to smoke in most public places. The ordinance was modeled after legislation provided by Miesha Smith.

Smith is the director of the coalition in Copiah and Lincoln counties. She said using multiple simultaneous methods to help smokers quit is better than relying on just one.

“Some people use a prescription along with nicotine replacement,” she said. “There are others that may use as many as three or four of the methods. Consult a professional to choose an approach that works for you.”

Smith said support for smokers can include things like the Mississippi Tobacco Quitline, the American Cancer Society Freshstart Program, nicotine anonymous meetings, self-help books and materials, smoking counselors or coaches, and encouragement and support from friends and family members.

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