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 Great American Smokeout Works to Halt Tobacco Use

​The American Cancer Society designates the third Thursday of November as the Great American Smokeout, a day to encourage a smoker you know to make a plan to quit, or to plan in advance to quit smoking that day.

The San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE) has been supporting the Great American Smokeout for more than 20 years, and over that time youth and adult tobacco use has decreased dramatically. However, there’s still work to do, SDCOE Project Specialist Jim Crittenden said.

"Despite the success over the years and despite all we know about the hazards of tobacco use, some kids still smoke," Crittenden said. "Now, we also are seeing a new generation of nicotine addicts from the use of e-cigarettes and vaping devices."

Nearly one in five 11th-graders report using a vaping device, according to the most recent California Healthy Kids Survey.

"Awareness events such as the Great American Smokeout provide a reminder and a wake-up call to all of us that tobacco use is still the No. 1 preventable cause of death," Crittenden said. “We must continue our efforts to prevent the use of such a deadly substance.”

According to the American Cancer Society, quitting smoking, even for one day, is an important step toward a healthier life and reduces cancer risk.

Today, students in SDCOE’s Friday Night Live club at Mt. Carmel High School in Rancho Penasquitos will visit nearby Mesa Verde Middle School to host a Great American Smokeout rally. The high school students will lead fun activities and share important information about the dangers of smoking.

"The goal of the rally is to remind youth and their parents how smoking can impact a family and their health," said SDCOE Youth Development Program Specialist Salvador Garcia.

The San Diego Friday Night Live Partnership, administered by SDCOE and the County of San Diego Behavioral Health Services, works to build partnerships for the positive and healthy development of youth in order to engage youth as active leaders and resources in their communities.