Pictured, from left, are commissioner Sam Nolte, Dr. Joseph Reed, Ginny Dixon, Amanda Hayes, commission president Kristie Tenney and commissioner Doug Bush. / Photo by Monica Zalaznik

Quit smoking, vaping or using tobacco cold turkey, and you could win a Thanksgiving turkey for the Great American Smokeout

BUCKHANNON – The Upshur County Tobacco Prevention coalition is asking locals to quit smoking cold turkey for a chance to win a Thanksgiving turkey for this year’s Great American Smokeout.

Secretary of the Upshur County Tobacco Prevention Coalition Amanda Hayes attended the Nov. 10 Upshur County Commission meeting to announce the coalition’s plans for the 2022 Great American Smokeout, which the American Cancer Society holds annually on the third Thursday of November.

“The Great American Smokeout is the third Thursday in November, and it encourages people to stop smoking for one day, with the thought that if you’re able to stop for one day, then you can go further than that,” Hayes said. “Every year, we do some kind of giveaway, centered around the turkey theme, because it’s closer to Thanksgiving and this year we thought a little bit outside the box, and we had a local artist paint a photo opp [cutout turkey] that’s been put near Chase Bank on the sidewalk.”

The cardboard cutout turkey, which offers people the photo opportunity, was displayed early Nov. 10 and is available for photos now.

“It’s a photo of a turkey and some pumpkins, and you can put your face in there and have a photo,” Hayes said. “We encourage everybody to do that and post it to their social media with the hashtag #upshurquitcoldturkey, and we will draw from those posts, and the winner will receive a gift card.”

“We’ve done some other things in the past where we had jars in doctor’s offices, and people just put their name in there, but this is a little bit more interactive,” Hayes added. “It also gets kids involved, so we’ll see how it works this year.”

The commission approved a proclamation declaring their support for the Nov. 17 Great American Smokeout and encouraging local citizens who smoke, vape or otherwise use tobacco to try to quit.

The proclamation appears in full below:

The American Cancer Society sponsors the Great American Smokeout on the third Thursday of November (November 17, 2022) each year, challenging smokers to give up cigarettes for 24 hours as an effort toward reducing or quitting entirely. If you or a loved one smokes cigarettes, consider joining the movement, and take the first step toward quitting cigarettes forever!

In our state, a pack of cigarettes costs approximately $6.62 plus tax, so if you multiply that one pack a day, the monthly cost is over $200. To take that to a yearly cost, it is roughly $2,400. If you quit, you could take your family on a week-long vacation or afford a monthly utility payment. Even if you only quit for four months, you could purchase a laptop/tablet and internet service.

E-cigarette use, or vaping, among adults and youth is an epidemic in West Virginia.

Vaping use rates are rising faster in West Virginia than rates across the nation. More than 1 in 3 (35.7%) West Virginia high school students report current use of e-cigarettes. This is a 150% increase from 2017 to 2019 alone. The high school tobacco use rate is 40.6%.

Studies show that second and third-hand smoke also poses health risks. Secondhand smoke can increase lung cancer by 20-30%. Smoke from the end of a cigarette has a higher concentration of the cancer-causing chemicals than the smoke exhaled by a smoker. The U.S. EPA says secondhand smoke is among the most dangerous substances known to cause cancer.

Third-hand smoke refers to the toxins from cigarette smoke that stick to soft surfaces. Thirdhand smoke not only affects adults but also babies, children, and even pets.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT PROCLAIMED that the Upshur County Commission hereby recognizes and supports the American Cancer Society’s GREAT AMERICAN SMOKEOUT on Nov. 17, 2022, in Upshur County and encourages all citizens who smoke, use chew or dip tobacco, vape, or any other devices to ingest nicotine to demonstrate to themselves and to their children that they can quit by joining the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout.

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