PUBLISHED: 2:49 PM on Wednesday, November 15, 2006
SEARHC celebrates 30th Great American Smoke-out
The SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium Breath for Life tobacco prevention program will host informational events in three communities for the 30th anniversary of the Great American Smokeout, which takes place on Thursday, Nov. 16.

• In Juneau, SEARHC tobacco health educator Rowena Reeves will set up an informational table at the SEARHC Juneau Medical Center on Monday, Nov. 13, that will remain up all week. Reeves also will host an informational table from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 15, at the office for the Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indians of Alaska located at Alaska Native Brotherhood Hall, 321 W. Willoughby Ave. The table at ANB Hall is to help prepare smokers who want to quit during the Smokeout the next day. Reeves can be reached at 364-4440.

• In Sitka, SEARHC tobacco health educator Amelia Mosher will set up an informational table from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 16, in the lobby of the SEARHC Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital. The informational table will include a tobacco usage survey and raffle. Mosher can be reached at 966-8721.

• And in Haines, SEARHC tobacco health educator Jane Weagant and WISEWOMAN health educator Pam Sloper will hang posters about the Great American Smokeout and host an informational table from noon to 2 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 16, at the Haines Borough Public Library. Also at the Christmas Bazaar 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 18. Weagant can be reached at 766-6315 and Sloper can be reached at 766-6367.

The Great American Smokeout is a national event, sponsored by the American Cancer Society, that takes place on the third Thursday of November each year. The purpose of the Smokeout is to encourage smokers to quit for a day in the hope that they might be able to quit for good. Local health organizations, businesses, other groups and individuals can participate in the Smokeout by helping smokers who are trying to quit, offering everything from counseling services to nicotine replacement therapy products to incentives for not lighting up. In some communities, restaurants have been known to serve "cold turkey" sandwiches in honor of the Smokeout while other businesses distribute Great American Smokeout survival kits designed to help smokers get through the day.

The SEARHC Breath for Life tobacco prevention program offers tobacco cessation counseling to Alaska Natives living throughout Southeast Alaska. This includes providing free nicotine replacement therapy products, such as the patch, gum and lozenges.

"This is a great opportunity for smokers to join people from all over the country who want to quit smoking," said Andrea Thomas, SEARHC Tobacco Grant Manager.

For more information and help quitting tobacco, call one of the tobacco health educators listed above, your local SEARHC health clinic or SEARHC's Breath For Life program during regular business hours at 1-907-966-8721 or toll-free within Alaska at 1-888-966-8875. The Alaska Tobacco Quit Line also offers free support and nicotine replacement therapy. The Alaska Quit Line can be reached 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-888-842-QUIT (1-888-842-7848).