Health department planning for Great American Smokeout

Published 11:03 am Friday, November 4, 2016

By Seth Littrell

The Clark County Health Department is planning several events this month to increase public education for the Great American Smokeout Nov. 17.

Mariah Winstead, a health department intern from Eastern Kentucky University planning the smokeout activities, said the overall goal of the effort is to get people to stop smoking for just one day.

“The goal of the nationwide event is to encourage people not to smoke for the day in hopes of developing smoke-free lives for a lifetime,” Winstead said.

The health department has already begun work for this year’s smokeout, working with Cub Scout Pack 56 to collect cigarette butts Oct. 30 to demonstrate the impact smoking has not just on health, but also on the environment.

Those cigarette butts will be on display in a jar Nov. 17 on a health fair table outside Kroger in Winchester.

Another opportunity for people to learn more about the smokeout and get some help if they want to quit smoking will be at the Nov. 14 basketball game at Campbell Jr. High.

There, health department staff will trade packs of cigarettes or smoking paraphernalia for a goodie bag of items to help quit smoking and a raffle ticket to win a Thanksgiving food basket.

In addition to encouraging smokers to quit, the health department has also planned some preventative measures to discourage smoking among children.

Health department educators will visit Justice Elementary to teach students what cigarettes contain, and discuss how tobacco ads make smoking look glamorous in an effort to get young people to get cigarettes.

The education will include demonstrations using the Suzie Smoker dummy, which Winstead said shows the amount of tar smoking a single cigarette puts into the human body.

Health educator Carolyn

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Burtner said a long-term goal of the health department’s is to get the entire Clark County school district changed to a smoke-free campus, which is more labor-intensive than simply petitioning the board of education.

“Each site-based decision-making council must approve a smoke-free facility before going to the school board,” burtner said.

She said the department has been working toward a smoke-free school district for about two years, and expects the district will get there within the next year.

Downtown businesses are helping with the campaign as well. The health department partnered with students from the Phoenix Academy to create posters about the dangers of smoking. Those posters will be distributed to various locations downtown by the students for the smokeout.

Contact Seth at seth.littrell@winchestersun.com.