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Local Youth Walk to Support Community Members Who Want to Quit Tobacco

You may have seen youth members from the YWCA, and Titusville Area High School and Middle School walking yesterday in the third, annual “Cold Turkey Trot”. The group completed a one-mile loop to show support for community members who participated in the American Cancer Society’s, Great American Smokeout on November 17th.

“This is the third year walking for a lot of us (students)” says Titusville High School Senior and United Way Student, Kaylie Rodgers. “It’s a great way to show other youth and the community we care about living healthy and don’t buy into what the tobacco companies want us to believe. We know tobacco and nicotine are bad for us. Plus,” added Rodgers, “there are a lot of people in town right now who have just quit or working on it, and we wanted to show our support.”

Every year, on the third Thursday of November, smokers across the nation are encouraged to make a plan to quit and start a tobacco-free life on that date. In Titusville and neighboring cities, residence were asked to take part by making a pledge to quit or to sign up for a cessation program. Cessation programs are free and include the PA Quitline (1-800-QUIT-NOW,) Quitlogix.com and local cessation classes.

Quit classes at the YWCA, and two local businesses concluded this week with many class members successfully hitting their smoke-free date. Meadville residents joined this year by registering with the PA Quitline through referrals from the Meadville Medical Center, Vernon Place, and the Yolanda G. Barco Oncology Center. As a bonus, cessation program participants were entered into a drawing for a chance to win one of 3 frozen turkeys in honor of the Great American Smokeout. Turkeys were donated by Giant Eagle, Walmart and Save-A-Lot. The drawing took place on the 17th.

Youth groups represented at the walk were members of the Titusville YWCA, United Way of the Titusville Region, Titusville High School’s Key Club, Stand Tall, Varsity Soccer Team, and Varsity Wrestling Team; all of whom are members of the Tobacco Resistance Unit (TRU).

TRU advocates against Big Tobacco marketing techniques designed to entice youth into using tobacco and other nicotine products while raising awareness of health hazards of tobacco use among peers.

The walk was also sponsored by TRU, the YWCA, NWPA Tobacco Control Program, Titusville Chamber of Commerce, Crawford Health Improvement Coalition, The United Way of the Titusville Region, and the Erie County Department of Health.

According to the American Cancer Society website, tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the US, yet about 42 million Americans still smoke cigarettes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports smoking-related illnesses in the United States cost more than $300 billion each year, including nearly $170 billion for direct medical costs for adults and more than $156 billion in lost productivity due to premature death and secondhand smoke.

The good news is that the health benefits of quitting start immediately from the moment of smoking cessation. Quitting while you are younger will reduce your health risks more, but quitting at any age can give back years of life that would be lost by continuing to smoke and greatly improve the quality of those years.

For more information on The Great American Smokeout visit www.cancer.org, for information on the Cold Turkey Campaign and local cessation programs, contact Paula Di Gregory at 814.758.1919.


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