REED CITY — The American Cancer Society marks the Great American Smokeout on the third Thursday of November each year by encouraging smokers to go the distance and quit smoking for good. By doing so, smokers will be taking an important step towards a healthier life.

This year’s Great American Smokeout is Thursday, Nov. 17.

“The Great American Smokeout is an opportunity to remind tobacco users that they can be successful, and to support tobacco users in their efforts to quit,” said Karen Ripke, tobacco treatment specialist for District Health Department No. 10. “Quitting tobacco use is the single best thing you can do for your health. The positive effects on health are both short and long term, and quitting benefits everyone, regardless of age.”

Tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in Michigan. Because tobacco products are highly addictive, most users make several quit attempts before they are successful. However, there are proven resources available to help tobacco users quit.

To celebrate the Great American Smokeout, Central Michigan District Health Department and District Health Department No. 10 are encouraging health care providers to ask their patients about tobacco use at every visit, provide advice to tobacco users about the benefits of quitting, and refer clients to the Michigan Tobacco Quitline at (800) 784-8669.

The Michigan Tobacco Quitline is an evidence-based service that provides free telephone coaching for the uninsured, pregnant women, residents enrolled in Medicaid and Medicare, veterans, cancer patients and Native Americans, and free nicotine replacement therapy to those who qualify. The Quitline provides services including materials, text messaging, an online program and referral to all Michigan residents.

Individuals who are ready to take the step towards quitting they too can contact the Michigan Tobacco Quitline to see if they qualify or contact the local Health Department office for resources.

For more information about the Michigan Tobacco Quitline or local resources, contact Ripke at (231) 305-8659. For more information about the Great American Smokeout visit the American Cancer Society’s website at cancer.org.