Join the Great American Smokeout

17 Nov 2005 | Lance Cpl. Drew W. Barker

Today marks the American Cancer Society's 29th Annual Great American Smokeout, a day when smokers across the country are encouraged to simply put down their cigarettes and quit smoking.

While all smokers should quit smoking for a multitude of reasons, including everything from extreme health risks to the increasing price of cigarettes, , in particular, should strongly consider dropping the self-defeating habit which plagues a shockingly high percentage of Marines.   

As a matter of fact, about 1-in-3 men and women in the military smoke cigarettes, with the Marine Corps showing the highest rate of use at nearly 40 percent, according to the 2002 Department of Defense Survey of Health Related Behaviors Among Military Personnel.

Although I have been able to research an abundance of information on the countless hazards of smoking through all forms of media including the Internet, printed materials, and television reports, I have yet to find any documentation of benefits. This fact alone leads me to believe that a vast majority of the general population in this country is fully aware of the detrimental effects of cigarettes.

And for those of you who aren’t aware, here are some of the highlights from a few respected news sources and organizations like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration, and the American Cancer Society:

*About 1 out of every 5 deaths in the U.S. can be attributed to tobacco products.
*Tobacco kills more Americans than AIDS, alcohol abuse, car accidents, murders, suicides, illegal drugs, and fires combined.
*Cigarette smoke contains 69 chemical compounds that are known cause cancer.
*1 out of 3 smokers are estimated to eventually die from a tobacco-related disease.
*Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the U.S.

Marines are a special breed, and while a nicotine addiction is a difficult thing to overcome, I refuse to believe that any one of us wouldn’t have the will power and self-control needed to kick such a disgusting habit.

According to the ACS, people who plan their attempt to quit in advance are twice as likely to succeed in their efforts. So I urge you to take today as an opportunity to better yourself and the Marine Corps, take the first step and join the Great American Smokeout.