Letter to the Editor

Health Department hands out thank yous

Sunday, November 30, 2008

To the Editor:

The Clay County Health Department would like to thank the Clay County businesses who participated in the Great American Smokeout Nov. 20.

Smoking causes more than 438,000 deaths every year in the United States and is the major cause of heart disease and stroke.

It costs Americans an estimated $130 billion annually in medical care. On average an individual usually spends more than $3,000 a year if he or she smokes.

Smoking doesn't hurt just the smoker.

A person breathing second-hand smoke is exposed to the same tar, nicotine, cyanide, arsenic, carbon monoxide and other cancer-causing chemicals as the person smoking the tobacco.

Second-hand smoke can be even more harmful to children. Babies exposed to smoke are twice as likely to die from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

Children exposed to second-hand smoke have more asthma attacks, allergies, colds and ear infections. Second-hand smoke causes 300,000 cases of pneumonia and bronchitis in children every year.

A Canadian study has shown that children exposed to second-hand smoke can become addicted to nicotine and suffer withdrawal symptoms when they go to school and are away from the second-hand exposure.

The Great American Smokeout encourages businesses and individuals to participate by becoming smoke-free for just one day.

Realizing they can make it through one day has given many smokers the incentive and hope to quit for good.

Thank you for your help Clay County.

If anyone would like to know more about our free smoking cessations classes, call the Clay County Health Department at 448-9019.

Thank you to Alabama Bar and Grill, American Legion, Bob and Angie's Hometown Restaurant, Brazil City Hall, Brazil Senior Center, Brazilian Lanes, Burger King, Casey's East, Casey's West, Cheney's Diner and Deli, Double-N-Diner, Gas America, Great Dane Trailers, Hancor, Inc., Hardee's, Lynn's Soda Shop, Mario Brothers Mexican, McDonald's (United States 40), Oak Ridge Diner, Pizza Gallery, Pizza Hut, Subway Brazil, Clay County Courthouse, Technifab Products and Yesterday's Pub.

Diane Dierks, R.N., Clay County Health Nurse, and

Linda Messmer, R.N.,

Great American Smokeout Coordinator