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Cape Assist's Great American Smokeout display encourages living smoke-free

Cape Assist's Great American Smokeout display encourages living smoke-free

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If you’re trying to tackle a big issue, you have to do it in a big way.

So Cape Assist, a substance-abuse prevention and treatment agency, along with local students set up a highly visible display to promote the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout on Nov. 19.

Students from Incorruptible.us Cape May and Cape May County SAFE took part in the campaign, which is held on the third Thursday in November each year. For more than 40 years, the Great American Smokeout has raised awareness about the dangers of smoking while offering support and encouragement to smokers who want to quit.

The Cape Assist team set up a display at Volunteers in Medicine in Cape May Court House that illustrated the 1,300 lives lost every day from smoking-related causes. The eye-catching exhibit was visible to passing cars and pedestrians.

“The Great American Smokeout is one of many smoke-free initiatives we participate in each year,” said senior prevention specialist Temerity Berry. “What makes this a different event is the display. People can be bombarded with statistics and facts, but it doesn’t really sink until it’s paired with a visual. Seeing a physical representation leaves an impact. If an event like this can help one person quit, it’s absolutely worth our time and effort.”

The agency offers a Quit Center program that provides Cape May County residents with a free assessment, individualized case management, one-on-one and group counseling, and nicotine replacement therapy. Assessments are done over the phone; the counseling and support groups are currently held through Zoom or by phone; and Cape Assist will mail the NRT to the person’s home.  

According to the American Cancer Society, smoking causes roughly 480,000 deaths per year. Smoking is the leading cause of cancer death in the nation and remains “the single largest preventable cause of death and illness in the world,” the ACS says. Smokers who quit will not only improve their health, but they will also reduce their cancer risk.

 “This has been a rough year for everyone — physically, financially, and emotionally,” said Executive Director Katie Faldetta. “Smokers often increase their use as an outlet to deal with stress. We’d like to offer them a different outlet. If someone wants to quit, we want to give them the opportunity, the support, and, more importantly, the tools to quit for good.”  

There are gift card incentives for those who complete the assessment and the program. If you or someone you know would like to schedule an assessment, call 609-522-5960 or email quitcenter@capeassist.org.  

To learn more about the Great American Smokeout, see cancer.org/healthy/stay-away-from-tobacco/great-american-smokeout.html

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