The American Cancer Society declares the third Thursday of every November to be the Great American Smokeout. The Great American Smokeout encourages smokers to either plan to quit on that day or make a plan to quit in the future. Quitting – even for one day – helps smokers take an important step towards a healthier life.
This year, on November 19, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) will be celebrating the Great American Smokeout through an event held at the UWM Union from 11am – 2pm.
“This event is a chance for students who are smoking to self-evaluate themselves and consider their options for quitting,” said Amy Sherer, Peer Health Educator for the Norris Health Center and organizer for the event.
As a former smoker herself, Sherer knows firsthand both the hardships that come with quitting and the importance of struggling through them.
“I realized I did not want to be smoking by my 30’s and knew that if I didn’t quit when I did, I never would,” she said.
Sherer has been proudly smoke free for roughly ten months. “It can still be challenging, but I have the support needed to continue my journey of being smoke free,” she said.
By hosting the Great American Smokeout event on campus, Sherer and her colleagues are offering that same support to other students.Several informational booths will be present at this event, with presenters from the Klotsche Center, LGBT Center, UWM School of Public Health, Community Advocates, and the Norris Health Center’s Peer Health Educators. The Norris Health Center clinic also provides on-campus resources such as educational materials, individual counseling, and appointments with healthcare providers – all at no cost to students. They also provide Zyban and nicotine replacement therapy for purchase.Quitting at a younger age provides optimum health risk reduction, but quitting at any age can give back years of life that would be lost by continuing to smoke tobacco products.
“You just need that one moment to realize you can and you want to quit,” Sherer said. “We hope the Great American Smokeout event will be that moment for many students.”