HILL: GASO Opportunity for Smokers To Quit

Letter from Jennifer Hill

GASO Opportunity
for Smokers To Quit

Seventy percent of smokers want to quit, but fewer than 10 percent of adult smokers manage to quit each year because nicotine is so addictive. The American Cancer Society began an annual event, Great American Smokeout, over 40 years ago to encourage smokers to take the first step to quitting smoking. On the third Thursday of November, thousands of smokers nationwide participate in GASO, using it as an opportunity to make a plan to quit or make one beforehand and initiate the plan on that day. This year’s GASO is on Thursday, November 17.

Smoke- and tobacco-free policies can also help cessation efforts, not only because they reduce the opportunities for using tobacco, but because they de-normalize tobacco use. For some smokers who are trying to quit, these policies can help them get over their final hurdle. These policies also protect and enhance everyone’s health and experience in those spaces and help prevent kids from becoming tobacco users themselves. Research has shown that the more kids witness people using tobacco, whether on screen or in real life, the more likely they will use it themselves.

Smoke-free policies for public spaces are supported overwhelmingly in Otsego County. A 2020 Siena College Research Institute survey found 75 percent of Otsego County residents supported smoking bans on all municipal grounds and 70 percent supported smoke-free outdoor areas around businesses open to the public. Recently, Cooperstown made most of the sidewalks along its Main Street smoke- and vape-free and the Village of Laurens passed a policy banning the use of tobacco and cannabis products on all village property.

Smokers in our area who are thinking of quitting could use GASO on November 17 to start their cessation journey. They can now go to more smoke-free spaces to help them along the way.

Jennifer Hill
Community Engagement Coordinator, Tobacco Free Communities: Delaware, Otsego and Schoharie

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