Great American Smokeout Nov. 17 — Health Department offers programs to help you quit

Online Staff Report

The 36th Annual Great American Smokeout is Thursday, Nov. 17. The Winnebago County Health Department (WCHD) will participate in the event by encouraging smokers in Winnebago County to use the date to make a plan to quit, or to plan in advance and quit smoking that day. By doing so, smokers will be taking an important step toward a healthier life.

Tobacco use remains the single-largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the U.S., yet more than 46 million Americans still smoke. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death for men and women, and more than 80 percent of lung cancers result from smoking. Smoking causes nearly one in five of the deaths from all causes in the U.S.

Quitting smoking has immediate as well as long-term benefits, reducing risks for diseases caused by smoking and improving health in general. Quitting is hard, but you can increase your chances of success with help.

The Winnebago County Health Department offers inexpensive and effective options to help smokers quit the habit. Options available through the Health Department include individual counseling as well as regular classes in Winnebago County. Call the Health Department’s Tobacco Programs coordinator, Larry Didier, at (815) 720-4269 to arrange for individual counseling or one of the upcoming quit-smoking classes. In the last year-and-a-half, more than 200 people have successfully quit smoking by attending one of the department’s programs.

Another option is that smokers can call the Illinois Tobacco Quit Line for help at 1-866-QUIT-YES (1-866-784-8937). The Quit Line is open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., Sunday through Saturday, and has trained smoking cessation counselors who can help you design a quit program or provide information about programs available at local health departments, hospitals or health centers in your area. The Quit Line is a joint program between the Illinois Department of Public Health and the American Lung Association of Illinois.

Help create a world with less cancer and more birthdays! For more about smoking cessation programs, contact the Winnebago County Health Department at (815) 720-4269, or go to the WCHD website at

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