Smoking is the single most preventable cause of death in our society. The American Cancer Society reports in 1999 an estimated 47 million adults were smokers in the United States. About half of those who continue to smoke will die prematurely from smoking.
The Great American Smoke Out is Thursday. This annual event on Nov. 18 asks smokers to quit smoking for just one day and maybe for a lifetime. This is the first year the Clay County Health Department is actively participating in the program.
The Health Department has asked all Clay County restaurants that allow smoking to go smoke free for one day or for good. Pamphlets about the effects of secondhand smoke and help on how to quit smoking will be available to patrons at participating restaurants.
County smoke-free rest-aurants are: Bob & Angie's Restaurant, Brazil Senior Center, The Doughnut Factory, Burger King, Clay City Senior Center, Casey's (East & West), Company's Coming, Eddie's Hamburgers, Hardee's, Lynn's Soda Fountain, McDonald's (U.S. 40 Brazil), Papa John's Pizza, Pizza Gallery, Pizza Hut, Pizza Pit Stop, Rally's Hamburgers, Shell Convenience No. 33, Simple Pleasures, Subway Sandwiches, Taco Bell, The Freeze, and Wendy's.
Restaurants willing to go smoke free for a day are Kentucky Fried Chicken, Double-N-Diner, Gas America and Mario's.
Secondhand smoke is a combination of the smoke from the burning end of a cigarette, cigar or pipe and the smoke exhaled by a smoker. It's extremely dangerous. Secondhand smoke can cause asthma, allergies, colds, bronchitis, pneumonia, heart disease, and cancer.
In the U.S., between 35,000 and 62,000 people die each year as a result of heart disease caused by secondhand smoke. Another 3,000 lives are lost from lung cancer. Secondhand smoke is especially dangerous for children.
The Clay County Health Department is working towards a smoke-free community. Working to reach this goal, CCHD is providing smoking cessation classes, has a 5th grade poster contest, offers literature about the effects of smoking and how to stop for all ages, and will continue to encourage county restaurants to be smoke-free.