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Smokers try to kick the habit in the annual Smokeout

Nov 18, 2011 1:51pm
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(NECN: Melissa Toupin) - According to the Worcester Department of Public Health, one in five Worcester residents smokes - a level much higher than the statewide average.

"The number is dropping," said Dr. Dale Magee, Worcester Department of Health Commissioner. "People are trying to quit, but still it's higher than we should be."

Thursday was the 36th annual Great American Smokeout, giving smokers an opportunity to try and kick the habit once an for all.

Greg Seward, director of the Tobacco Free Initiative at UMass Memorial Medical Center, has seen the side effects of smoking.

"Health-wise, you're at much greater risk for all kinds of cancer, lung problems, things like emphysema," said Seward.

The American Cancer Society's Casey Pereira says Tobacco use remains the largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the U.S. The goal of the Smokeout is to encourage smokers to quit for 24 hours, increasing the chances they will make it permanent.
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