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Sunday, July 21, 2024

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CMCo Quit Center Celebrates ‘Great American Smokeout’

From left: CMC Healthy Community Coalition Coordinator Natalia Leusner

By From Cape Assist

WILDWOOD – The Cape May County Quit Center at Cape Assist creates an outdoor display that sends a strong message as part of their dedication to reducing tobacco use and informing the community of its dangers, as well as their participation in the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout. 
In a nationwide initiative, the Great American Smokeout encourages communities to challenge smokers to give up smoking for 24 hours. Quitting is no easy task, but it starts with day one. The event officially started back in 1977 and has since continued every third Thursday of November. 
Along with the display of paint sticks in front of the Lower Township Municipal Building representing the 1,300 people who die each day due to smoking related issues, the Cape May County Quit Center at Cape Assist also distributed red Quit Center stickers to restaurants to place on to-go orders such as pizza boxes, sandwiches, and food-to-go boxes. These special stickers feature information about the Quit Center. Information kits were also provided to the Hope One of Cape May County van to be handed out, as well as inside Thanksgiving baskets put together by Coastal Preparatory High School students that will be given out to families through the local food pantry. 
Cape Assist’s Quit Center program provides Cape May County residents with a free assessment, individualized case management, one-on-one and group counseling, and Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT). Assessments are done over the phone; the counseling and support groups are currently held through Zoom or by phone; and Cape Assist will mail the NRT to the person’s home. Community groups are also offered virtually. 
The Quit Center also partnered with Incorruptible.us Cape May County and the Cape May County Library to put together a display case at the library showcasing the dangers of smoking and information on getting help to quit. 
“We need to make a statement,” said Cape Assist’s Executive Director Katie Faldetta. “But more importantly, we need to give our communities the resources to know that there are other outlets and services for them. The Quit Center does both.”  
The Great American Smokeout transpired from a 1970 event in Massachusetts where people were asked to give up cigarettes for a day and donate the money they would have spent on cigarettes to a high school scholarship fund. According to the American Cancer Society, about 34 million American adults still smoke cigarettes, and smoking remains the single largest preventable cause of death and illness in the world. Smoking causes an estimated 480,000 deaths every year, or about 1 in 5 deaths. 
“Whether they be community, nation or worldwide initiatives, it’s important for us to come together with a very loud message; Smoking kills,” said Prevention Educator & Coordinator of the Quit Center Lisa Harczak. “Changing one life at a time makes a difference for families all over affected by this addiction.”  
The Cape May County Quit Center at Cape Assist continues to offer their gift card incentives for those who complete the smoking assessment and the program. If you or someone you know would like to schedule an assessment, text “QuitCenter” or call 609-522-5960, email quit@capeassist.org, or visit capeassist.org/quit. For any Cape May County youth ages 13-18 who are interested in joining Incorruptible.us, please visit capeassist.org/incorruptible.us. 

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