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May 31 is 'World No Tobacco Day'

Since 2005, the average number of cigarettes smoked per day by daily smokers has declined from about 17 cigarettes to 14. (Myriams-Fotos/Pixabay)
Since 2005, the average number of cigarettes smoked per day by daily smokers has declined from about 17 cigarettes to 14. (Myriams-Fotos/Pixabay)
May 31, 2019

ST. PAUL, Minn. – Smokers in Minnesota and worldwide are being encouraged to toss out their cigarettes today for "World No Tobacco Day."

Taking a page from the "Meatless Mondays" playbook, this year the Johns Hopkins Institute for Global Tobacco Control has introduced "Quit and Stay Quit Mondays" – an initiative that encourages smokers to quit on Monday, and if it doesn't stick, try quitting again the next Monday.

Joanna Cohen, with the Institute, says despite a mountain of research about tobacco's effects on health, eight million people around the world die each year from smoking-related causes.

"The tragedy is that each and every one of those deaths are completely preventable,” says Cohen. “There's no reason why anyone needs to die from a tobacco product. We don't need these things to survive."

Cohen says studies show that it can take as many as 30 attempts to quit before a person gives up smoking completely.

In the 1960s, an estimated 42% of Americans were regular smokers. By 2016, only 15% of U.S. adults said they were still lighting up. In Minnesota, about 14% of residents are still regular smokers.

Cohen says by joining the "Monday Quitters Movement," smokers know if they fall off the wagon, there's always another Monday right around the corner to help them get back on track.

"I think what happens with each and every attempt, is that you learn things,” says Cohen. “You learn what your triggers are, you learn what tends to work. So, each time you try, you learn a little more – and eventually, people quit."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, smoking rates are higher among men, people who live in the Midwest or South and those experiencing serious psychological distress. Cohen notes there isn't enough data yet to know if e-cigarettes are increasing smoking rates among young people.

Roz Brown, Public News Service - MN