According to the National Cancer Society, smokers are 25 times more likely to be diagnosed with lung and bronchus cancers than non-smokers. It’s a sobering statistic, but the reality is far more troubling.
In 2014, the National Cancer Institute estimated that 160,000 men and women die from lung and bronchus cancers every year. In Georgia alone, 11,000 people die annually from smoking-related illnesses.
To combat the problem, on Aug. 1 2013, Georgia Regents University became an entirely smoke-free campus. The directive, put into place a full-year before the University System of Georgia mandated the same for all USG institutions, was a bold move for the institution. But it was only the beginning.
The Great American Smokeout, held each year on the third Thursday of November, is a GRU community outreach program designed to help smokers quit by calling attention to the death, illness and disability caused by smoking and secondhand smoke. As part of a continuing effort to assist smokers, the GRU Cancer Center, Georgia Prevention Institute and the College of Dental Medicine will set up three Commit to Quit stations on Nov. 19.
Commit to Quit stations are open to students, faculty, staff and the community, and offer tools and tips to assist smokers in overcoming nicotine, taming their urge to smoke and changing their tobacco-related behaviors.
The following stations will be available from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the Health Sciences and Summerville Campuses:
- Children’s Hospital of Georgia Lobby
- Harold Harrison, M.D. Education Commons
- Jaguar Student Activities Center (JSAC)
In addition to setting up Commit to Quit stations, GRU will also host a community forum at the Augusta Richmond County main library from 5:30-6:30 p.m. on Nov. 19, with free oral health screenings to follow.
“Our community cannot afford to lose another life to smoking and secondhand smoke,” said Martha Tingen, Director of the GRU Cancer Center’s Tobacco Control Initiative. “The Smoke Out is designed to remind us of that and to let smokers and their loved ones know resources and help in quitting are available.”