Consider This: The Great American Smokeout

Thursday, November 15 marks the American Cancer Society's 31st Annual Great American Smokeout. The event is designed to encourage cigarette smokers to quit smoking for at least one day in hopes they might quit permanently.

If you smoke, we hope you participated and found the strength to continue as a non-smoker.

Quitting has substantial and immediate health benefits for men and women of all ages, and there are other benefits as well such as cost-savings, social acceptance, protection from the dangers of fires and second-hand smoke, and setting a positive example for your children.

Numerous aids are available to help you quit; go to and click on their Guide to Quitting Smoking for help.

Thursday, November 15 also marks the day that New Hanover Regional Medical Center, Cape Fear Memorial, Pender Memorial and Dosher Memorial hospitals will permanently be tobacco-free. No cigarettes or other tobacco products are allowed anywhere on the property. The rule applies to everyone: patients, visitors, hospital employees and volunteers.

Hospital officials say the move helps them promote a healthier lifestyle and they're offering aids to help their employees and volunteers kick the habit altogether.

Brunswick Community Hospital went tobacco-free in April. We applaud their decision to ban smoking.

As the providers of healthcare in our area, they understand the health benefits of quitting smoking and the cost to society of healthcare provided for smoking-related illnesses.

We also salute the many area restaurants that have made the decision to protect their customers and employees from the hazards of second-hand smoke by going smoke-free.

If you're a smoker, consider this: non-smokers live an average 14 years longer than smokers.

Quit now, and you'll be around a lot longer for your family and friends.

That's what we think. Tell us what you think. (kd)