By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – The Wellness Now Tobacco Use Prevention Workgroup is joining with the Central Oklahoma Humane Society to host the “Great American Smokeout (GASO) Partners for Life Pet Adoption.”
The event will take place at the Oklahoma City-County Health Department, 2600 NE 63 Street on Saturday, November 18 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Nationally, the Great American Smokeout is sponsored by the American Cancer Society and is held on the third Thursday of November.
According to the American Cancer Society setting a date to quit is an important step for tobacco users in protecting their health and the health of their loved ones.
This year’s GASO event in Oklahoma County focuses not only on the effects smoking has on people, but also on the effects of secondhand and thirdhand smoke on pets.
Secondhand smoke comes off a cigarette or is exhaled from a cigarette. Thirdhand smoke is the residue left on clothing, hair, or objects after the cigarette is finished.
During the event veterinarians, health care providers and other professionals will be available to provide educational information on the importance of protecting your pets from secondhand smoke.
The event is a collaboration between Central Oklahoma Humane Society, Oklahoma Society for Respiratory Care, Oklahoma Hospital Association, Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline, Mercy, Republic Bank and Trust, and Tinker AFB Health Promotion.
“We animal lovers consider our pets a member of our family, and would never do anything to harm them,” said Mary Blankenship Pointer, Republic Bank and Trust Senior Vice President. “Most people do not realize how smoking affects their pets.
“The residue from smoking settles in your carpet and furniture. Your pets are constantly cleaning their paws and ingesting these harmful chemicals.” Pointer added. “Pet owners would be devastated if they understood how harmful this is to their pets.”
Heather Wilson-Robles, assistant professor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Science (CVM) said, “There are studies that show that dogs exposed to large amounts of second-hand smoke have significant changes to their lung tissue over time. These changes range from fibrosis, or scarring of the lung tissue to precancerous and even cancerous lesions.”
The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids reports that approximately 7,500 adults in Oklahoma die annually from smoking, and 2,100 Oklahomans under age 18 become new smokers each year.
Beginning in the 1970’s, the Great American Smokeout has helped dramatically change Americans’ attitudes about smoking. This has led to community programs and smoke-free laws that are now saving lives across the country.
“Year after year, GASO participants support each other as they begin the process of quitting tobacco,” said John Woods, Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET) executive director. “Whether you’re thinking about quitting tobacco, currently quitting tobacco, or supporting loved ones in their quit journey, the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline can provide free resources and support.”
Available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the Oklahoma Tobacco Help Line (800-QUIT-NOW) offers one-on-one coaching, supportive text messages and a free starter kit of nicotine patches or lozenges.
“With so many resources available, the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline can help users build out a Quit Plan in preparation for the Great American Smokeout, allowing them to quit not only for one day, but hopefully for life,” said Paola Klein, Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline coordinator.
A new CDC Report on Tobacco Use in America released today (Thursday, Nov 9) shows that one in five American adults are still using tobacco products. This is the first time the CDC, in coordination with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), has used the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) to assess the range of different tobacco products used by U.S. adults.
Key findings include:
• Use of any tobacco product was more common among males (25.2 percent) than among females (15.4 percent) and more common among adults ages 25–44 (23.3 percent), than among those 65 years and older (11.1 percent).
• Rates of use of any tobacco product were higher among adults living in the Midwest; people with a General Equivalency Diploma (GED); and people with annual household incomes under $35,000.
• Among all groups, use of any tobacco product was most common among adults with serious psychological distress (47.2 percent), compared with use among those without serious psychological distress (19.2 percent).
According to WebMD, research has shown that animals can positively impact mood and help with stress. The physical contact of petting a cat or dog can lower blood pressure and with pets are generally happier, more trusting, and less lonely than those who don’t have pets
The GASO Pet Adoption event will offer participants te opportunity to test their carbon monoxide levels, receive smoking cessation information, and even adopt a dog or cat as their partner for life.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) urges pet owners to have smoke-free homes.
For more information, contact the Tobacco Use Prevention program at 405-419.4247 or [email protected].