Smokeout day helps quitters |

Smokeout day helps quitters

Smokers will find camaraderie and support today when thousands of Americans will try to avoid tobacco use for the day or for good.

For 25 years, more smokers have kicked the habit during the Great American Smokeout than any other day of the year.

According to the American Cancer Society, health concerns usually top the list of reasons people give for quitting smoking. But smokers may not be aware of how many illnesses they may avoid by kicking the habit.

It’s the main reason why Acel Troutman, 31, of South Lake Tahoe decided to quit.

“I have two cigarettes left that I will smoke tonight and then I’m done for good,” said Troutman Wednesday.

The South Shore carpenter and independent businessman said he started smoking eight years ago. His first attempt at quitting was on Jan. 1 of this year. It lasted for seven months. Then, things changed, he said.

“I guess I wasn’t it the frame of mind at the time. I wasn’t fully committed. Now I am,” Troutman said. “I finally decided that I prefer outdoor activities better. I like to mountain bike and snowboard. You need the extra lung capacity to do those activities.”

Smoking causes serious respiratory diseases such as emphysema and chronic bronchitis for up to 20 percent of smokers. These progressive lung diseases are usually diagnosed in current or former smokers in their 60s and 70s.

For women, there are unique risks. Women over 35 who smoke and use oral contraceptives are in a high-risk group for heart attack, stroke, and blood clots of the legs. Women who smoke are also more likely to have a miscarriage or a low-birth-weight baby.

Nearly five years after California’s groundbreaking smoke-free bar law took effect, two polls show overwhelming support for smoke-free bars.

Released at the 2002 National Conference on Tobacco and Health in San Francisco, 75 percent of bar owners and employees in California prefer to work in smoke-free environments. Nearly 80 percent of bar patrons agree that smoke-free dining and drinking establishments are important to their health.

“This study shows California’s nationwide leadership in employee protection laws is backed by owners and workers alike,” Gov. Gray Davis said. “Despite the tobacco industry’s aggressive interference and misinformation campaign, smoke-free bars are preferred by the majority of bar owners and employees and bar patrons.”

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