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WellWorks promotes the Great American Smokeout

ATHENS, Ohio (Nov. 10, 2005) -- WellWorks, Ohio University's wellness center, hopes to gobble down smokers on the Ohio University campus and in the Athens community. On Nov. 17, it will celebrate the Great American Smokeout with its "A Turkey for a Turkey" promotion.

Participants who quit smoking cold turkey for 24 continuous hours on Nov. 16, 17 or 18 will receive a $15 gift certificate from Kroger good toward the purchase of their holiday turkey. Smokers must fill out a questionnaire about their smoking habits and sign a smoke-free pledge that must also be signed by a witness.

"Our hope is that smokers who try to quit smoking for this one day will be motivated to quit for life," said WellWorks Director Kim Valentour.

The American Cancer Society has sponsored the Great American Smokeout nationally since 1977, held every third Thursday of November. The purpose of the event is to challenge people to stop using tobacco and to inform them of the methods of quitting. The smokeout also brings awareness to the deaths and chronic disease caused by smoking. According to the American Cancer Society, smoking is responsible for 1 in 3 cancer deaths and 1 in 5 deaths from all causes.

The good news is the benefits from quitting smoking are felt almost immediately. Within 20 minutes of quitting, blood pressure decreases and body temperature in the hands and feet increases. Within 8 hours, carbon monoxide levels in the blood return to normal and in 24 hours the chance for a heart attack decreases. And every day, month and year after quitting, the health benefits continue. By 15 years of tobacco-free living, an ex-smoker's risk of coronary heart disease is the same as someone who never smoked.

Eligible participants include Ohio University employees and employees at WellWorks' 20 corporate member sites throughout the local community. Members include Athens County schools and Athens County Job and Family Services, among others.

Partnering with WellWorks to help make "A Turkey for a Turkey" happen are Kroger, the Athens County Tobacco Coalition, the Athens City/County Health Department, and the American Cancer Society and its partnership with the Ohio University College of Communication.

WellWorks also wants people to know that smokers are most successful at quitting when they have a support system in place, including moral support from family and friends. If you are interested in quitting smoking, contact Susan West, tobacco cessation specialist, at Tri-County Mental Health and Counseling Services. She provides free resources to Athens County residents including smoking cessation classes, counseling and print information. Call her at 592-4325.

Also available is the Ohio Tobacco Quit Line, where callers reach counselors who can provide support and information about methods to quit smoking and local resources. The number is 1-800-QUITNOW (1-800-784-8669.)

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Media Contact: WellWorks Education and Special Events Coordinator Johnna Sprockett, (740) 593-9458 or sprocket@ohio.edu

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