To the Editor:
The Clay County Health Department would like to thank the Clay County businesses who participated in the Great American Smoke-Out, Nov. 19.
Smoking causes an estimated 460,000 deaths a year in the United States. It costs Americans more than $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 secondhand smoke is exposed to the same tar, nicotine, cyanide, arsenic, carbon monoxide and other cancer-causing chemicals as the person smoking the tobacco.
Secondhand 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 secondhand smoke have more asthma attacks, allergies, colds and ear infections. Secondhand smoke causes 300,000 cases of pneumonia and bronchitis in children every year.
A Canadian study has shown that children exposed to secondhand smoke can become addicted to nicotine and suffer withdrawal symptoms when they go to school and are away from the secondhand exposure.
The Great American Smoke-Out, sponsored by the American Cancer Society, 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.
Thank you to Alabama Bar and Grill, American Legion, Double 'N Diner, Time Out Bar and Grill, Pizza Hut, Brazil City Hall, Brazil Subway, Oak Ridge Diner and Deli, Cheney's Diner and Deli and Clay County Courthouse.
If anyone would like to know more about our free smoking cessation classes, call the Clay County Health Department at 448-9019.
Linda Messmer, RN, Great American Smoke-Out Coordinator,
Diane Dierks, RN, Clay County Health Nurse,
Dr. R. Farid, Clay County Health Officer