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Editorial: Join the Great American Smokeout

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opinion Willmar, 56201

Willmar Minnesota 2208 Trott Ave. SW / P.O. Box 839 56201

Today marks the 35th Great American Smokeout Day in Minnesota and across the United States.

It is a good day to take one step toward creating "a world with less cancer and more birthdays."

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Lynn R. Smith, editor of the Monticello Times, as a community effort encouraging citizens to quit smoking, initiated the original smokeout effort in 1974. The effort went nationwide three years later.

It was a very good concept -- get ready, get set and quit. Then try to stay smoke free for 24 hours.

This effort is paying off.

Since 1978, the percentage of adults who smoke in the United States fell from 34 percent to 21 percent, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

There have been other steps helping reduce the smoking population. Smoking is now banned in many public places in Minnesota and other states are following suit.

Kudos goes out as well to the Kandiyohi County Drug Free Coalition. This organization and its volunteers have worked long and hard to reduce smoking in the county. Read more at: kcdrugfree.areavoices.com.

Tobacco use in America is the leading preventable medical issue, including death, disease and disability. The decision to smoke, often made at an early age, has life-long consequences.

The decision to quit starts with one step, just jumping on board with the Great American Smokeout. Then taking one day at a time, an individual can overcome this addiction.

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