Day to kick the habit |

Day to kick the habit

Gregory Crofton, Tahoe Daily Tribune

Even if you’re a full-time smoker, health professionals want you to take a break from tobacco on Saturday to celebrate World No Tobacco day.

That means put away the dip, stub out the cigar and leave the cigarette in the pack — even if you’ve had a few drinks.

The World Health Organization based in Geneva sponsors the event. This year’s theme targets the promotion of tobacco products by the Hollywood movie industry.

“We know that young people who see more tobacco use on the screen are much more likely to try smoking,” said Dr. Derek Yach, an executive director at WHO. “Hollywood knows it and tobacco companies know it.”

In 1999 and 2000, eight of the 10 most popular movies of the year featured smoking, according to the Center for Tobacco Control, Research and Education, based at UC San Francisco.

Barton Memorial Hospital has organized a stop smoking campaign that starts in July. The smoking cessation series costs $20 a person and involves four one-hour classes at the hospital’s board room.

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“Doing it for sequential classes gets them motivated,” said Alicia Allegrini, coordinator for the Barton Health Resource Center. “People who sign up are pretty determined. If they are going to pay for it, they’re going to kick the habit.”

Allegrini said whether the series continues to happen every month, every other month or at all depends on attendance.

“We just want to let the community know that we’re here to help,” Allegrini said. “We’re trying to do a lot of outreach at Barton.”

To register for the series, call (530) 543-5537. Meetings are scheduled July 2, 9, 16 and 18. They will run from 6 to 7 p.m.

— Gregory Crofton can be reached at (530) 542-8045 or by e-mail at