Next Thursday, Nov. 17 is the American Cancer Society's Great American Smokeout. This is a great time, for Shepherdstown locals of all ages, to kick the habit and teach others about the dangers that come with it.
Decades ago, people weren't as privy to the risks associated with smoking. But today, there is no excuse to be oblivious to its dangers. Cigarette companies protect themselves by placing large warning labels right on the packaging, but perhaps even more poignant than that is the data.
According to the American Cancer Society, smoking causes various other conditions in individuals, such as emphysema and heart disease, causing death 13 to 14 years earlier than nonsmokers. The society also reports that 400 of the 4,000 substances in tobacco are poisonous while 69 cause cancer. And more people die from tobacco-related deaths than from AIDS, alcohol, car accidents, drug abuse, murders, suicides and fire combined, according to the society.
If those aren't reasons to put down the cigarettes or tobacco, think about your children. Would you want them inhaling cancer-causing substances or dying earlier than their non-smoking peers?
So on Nov. 17, kick the habit for the day, and hopefully it will be the first step to the rest of a lifetime tobacco-free.