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Michigan Smokers Urged to Kick the Habit for Smokeout

November 16, 2011

LANSING, Mich. - Michigan residents who are ready to kick the smoking habit can join millions of others nationwide Thursday during the annual Great American Smokeout.

The American Cancer Society hopes smokers will set aside Nov. 17 each year to make a plan to quit, a decision it says can add up to another 10 birthdays.

Linda Gerych was a pack-a-day smoker for years before she took part in the Great American Smokeout nearly three decades ago. She says stocking up on information from the society and writing notes for herself about the benefits of quitting made all the difference.

"So I kept all those things on a little card in my pocket so that when I wanted a cigarette I would go to my reminder list instead of going to a cigarette."

As a nurse, Gerych says, she was well aware of the risks and had tried several other methods to kick the habit before the Smokeout, but she says it ultimately came down to making a plan and sticking to it.

"Try and solve it like a problem you would in any area of life. You wouldn't just say tomorrow the problem will go away, you will put forth energy in deciding on ways to deal with a problem if that's what you need to do with this."

There are still 47 million smokers nationwide, the society estimates, with tobacco use responsible for one in five deaths.

The society hopes the Smokeout will be a starting point for some people to quit for a day - and then for a lifetime. Tools to help smokers beat the urge are available online at cancer.org/smokeout.

Mona Shand, Public News Service - MI