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(Chelsea Update would like to thank Kayla Steinberg for the information in this story.)

The 2017 Great American Smokeout is Thursday, Nov. 16. Washtenaw County Public Health is celebrating by providing free carbon monoxide breath tests and encouraging smokers to use the day to quit, make a plan to quit, or reach out for support to quit.

The Michigan Tobacco Quitline can help smokers take steps towards quitting – and toward improving their current and future health.

Tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in Michigan, killing more than 16,200 residents each year. Over 20 percent of Michigan adults smoke cigarettes, and nearly 30 percent of Michigan kids use tobacco. Each year, 5,800 Michigan kids become new, daily smokers.

“We know at least 15 percent of adults in Washtenaw County smoke and nine out of ten of them started before age 18,” says Jessie Kimbrough Marshall, MD, MPH, medical director for Washtenaw County Public Health. “Quitting tobacco use is one of the single best things you can do for your health. Setting a date to quit, calling the Michigan Tobacco Quitline, talking with your health care provider, and asking friends and family for support can all help you succeed in quitting.”

Washtenaw County Public Health will be providing free carbon monoxide (CO) breath tests and blood pressure screenings this Wednesday, Nov. 15 from 1 to 3:30 p.m. The CO breath tests will measure the amount of poisonous CO gas in participants’ breath, which correlates to how much CO is in their blood. High levels of CO indicate frequent smoking and tobacco addiction.

The testing will take place before and during Washtenaw County Public Health’s monthly healthy food distribution in the atrium of 555 Towner Street, Ypsilanti. The tests only take a few minutes, and no appointments are needed.

The positive effects of quitting smoking are both short and long term. According to the American Cancer Society, the body begins to recover within minutes of quitting smoking. Heart rate and blood pressure drop, and within 12 hours carbon monoxide levels in blood return to normal. Benefits continue over time, including improved circulation and lung function, reduced risk of coronary heart disease and reduced risk of cancer.

Tobacco products are highly addictive and users may require several quit attempts before they are successful. However, there are proven resources available to help tobacco users quit. Quitters are most successful when using a combination of therapies, including resources such as nicotine replacement, counseling, self-help materials, and a strong support network of family and friends. 

The Michigan Tobacco Quitline

Washtenaw County Public Health is working with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to connect current smokers to quitting support and resources. The Michigan Tobacco Quitline (1-800-QUIT-NOW or 1-800-784-8669) is an evidence-based service that helps smokers access quit aids, counseling and other resources. The service is available 24/7 in multiple languages.

The Michigan Tobacco Quitline provides free telephone coaching for the uninsured, pregnant women, residents enrolled in Medicaid and Medicare, veterans, cancer patients, and Native Americans. The Quitline provides services including materials, text messaging, an online program, and referral to all Michigan residents.

Individual tobacco users can contact the Quitline directly at 1-800-QUIT-NOW, or enroll online at https://michigan.quitlogix.org/. Providers in all health care settings are also encouraged to refer their patients and clients to the Quitline.

The Great American Smokeout

The American Cancer Society marks the Great American Smokeout on the third Thursday of November each year. For more information visit www.cancer.org/smokeout.

Washtenaw County Public Health

Washtenaw County Public Health promotes health and works to prevent disease and injury in our community. Our mission is to assure, in partnership with the community, the conditions necessary for people to live healthy lives through prevention and protection programs. Visit Washtenaw County Public Health online at http://publichealth.ewashtenaw.org  or call 734-544-6700.

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