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Hubbard County Great American Smokeout is Nov. 18

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Hubbard County residents are encouraged to participate in the Great American Smokeout Thursday, Nov. 18.

The American Cancer Society is marking the 35th annual event by encouraging smokers to use the date to make a plan to quit, or to plan in advance and quit smoking that day.

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Advocates in Hubbard County are promoting the day through a Facebook page that can be found by searching "Hubbard County Great American Smoke Out."

Diane Brophy, public health nurse with St. Joseph's Community Health, said this is the first year public health has grasped onto the Nov. 18 promotion.

"We've been promoting Quit Kits around town, specifically for work places," she said. "The hope is for employees to quit smoking for one day and then spur them on for more days without smoking."

Brophy cited statistics from the Centers for Disease Control that 70 percent of adult smokers want to quit but without help only 5 percent are successful.

"Quitting is a difficult thing and we want to be able to help," she said.

St. Joseph's Community Health has more information about how to quit smoking. For a personal Quit Kit, contact Brophy at 237-5483 or dianebrophy@

catholichealth.net.

The Great American Smokeout was based on an idea of the editor of the Monticello Times, Lynn R. Smith. He encouraged people in his community to quit smoking for one day on Jan. 6, 1974, and led to Minnesota's first statewide Don't Smoke Day. The event has since grown nationwide.

Locally, youth smoking is a concern as well.

The latest Minnesota Student Survey results indicate a mixed result for 9th and 12th grade youth in Hubbard County, according to Sara Bowles, who works with the Hubbard County Youth Drug and Alcohol Task Force.

According to the 2007 survey, 35 percent of 9th grade males and 28 percent of 9th grade females used tobacco in the previous 30 days before the survey. The 2010 survey results were a decline for 9th grade males to 22 percent and an increase for 9th grade females to 30 percent. Hubbard County high school seniors results showed no change among males at 53 percent and a large decrease for females to 23 percent for past 30 day use.

Smokeless tobacco rates declined for 9th grade males from 22 percent in 2007 to 17 percent in 2010 but rose just 1 percent for 9th grade females from 6 percent to 7 percent for past 30 day use. Rates increased for both males and females in 12th grade from 33 percent to 37 percent and from 3 percent to 4 percent respectively.

Contact Sara Bowles at 252-8275 or sbowles.hapa@arvig.net for more information about the survey or the task force.

For more information on the history of the Great American Smokeout or how to quit, visit www.cancer.org or www.quitplan.com.

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Anna Erickson
Anna Erickson is editor of the Park Rapids Enterprise.
(218) 732-3364
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