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Andersen HAWC gears up for Great American Smokeout

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Shane Dunaway
  • 36th Wing Public Affairs
The Great American Smokeout, an annual campaign formed in 1976 designed to encourage tobacco users to "snuff" out the habit, kicks off Nov. 20 here.

"The Great American Smokeout remains a great opportunity to encourage people to commit to making a long-term plan to quit for good," said Maj. Cynthia Pouncey, health and wellness center element chief. "It inspires people to believe that if they can quit for one day, then they can quit for good."

According to Andersen's Dental Data System Web Server, as of Oct. 22, 31.1 percent of Team Andersen members use some form or combination of tobacco products, nearly eight percent higher than the Air Force average.

The HAWC offers quit kits for those interested in quelling their addiction. They also conduct briefings and offer on-line and in-house avenues for assisting Airmen with nicotine dependencies.

"Nicotine 'hooks' you in several ways: the physical addiction, the habit of using tobacco, and the emotional dependence to it," Major Pouncey said. "Physically, nicotine helps people feel relaxed, improves concentration, and produces pleasurable feelings. It is very habitual because a person who has smoked a pack a day for twenty years has taken over a million puffs. Anything you do a million times becomes a big part of your day. With emotional dependence, people learn to rely on tobacco like they might rely on a good friend. So to successfully quit, all three of these issues must be addressed."

One retiree has already taken the initiative to quit and has been tobacco free for 47 days as of Nov. 7.

"I've seen so many improvements since I quit smoking," said William Hart, Sr., a retired Air Force staff sergeant. "I've noticed an improvement in taste with my food and drinks; I'm not as nervous as I used to be and am mentally sharper. Physically, I've been walking two and a half hours every day and I enjoy bowling and golfing. Before I quit, I'd golf once a week with my pastor and we'd play 18 holes. Now, I'm up to 36 per week."

For more information on how to quit smoking, contact the HAWC at 366-2493.

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