Semper Fit hosts the Great American Smokeout

21 Nov 2008 | Lance Cpl. Elyssa Quesada


During the holiday season, homes are usually filled with the smell of food and candles, who wants to smell cigarette smoke this year? This month all smokers and dippers were invited to participate in the Great American Smokeout on Thursday.

The Semper Fit program set up an informational booth on the Air Station to inform Tri-Command service members, families and civilian Marines about the importance of quitting

The Great American Smokeout began in 1976 to inspire and encourage smokers to quit for one day. Now, 44.2 percent of the 45.3 million Americans who smoke have attempted to quit for at least one day in the past year, according to

Available at each booth was various information pamphlets, alternative smoking and chewing products and most importantly a sign-up sheet for people who vowed to quit for the day.

Semper Fit’s goal for the day was to influence as many Tri-Command service members, family members and civilian Marines to quit for the day, and also to inform people about the programs Semper Fit offers throughout the year.

“The whole act is all in your head,” said Pvt. Dale Riviere, a cryogenics technician with Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 31. “Smoking is not anything your body needs.”

The Great American Smokeout remains a great opportunity to encourage people to commit to making a long-term plan to quit for good, according to

“I took part in the Great American Smokeout this year, and helped inform my fellow Marines what the event was,” Riviere said. “I tried to influence them to stop smoking, or at least for one day.”

Each year, smoking accounts for an estimated 438,000 premature deaths, including 38,000 deaths among nonsmokers as a result of secondhand smoke. Half of all Americans who continue to smoke will die from smoking-related diseases, according to

“A table was set up in the exchange to display numerous chemicals found in tobacco,” Kathy Williams, the health promotion educator for SemperFit.

The American Cancer Society is dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem by saving lives, diminishing suffering and preventing cancer through research, education, advocacy and service.

“Through education, I hope to see less people smoking and dipping,” Williams said. “People know the risks and the addiction of cigarettes and smokeless tobacco, but some aren’t willing to quit.”

The Great American Smokeout is just one way Semper Fit can help educate people on the risks of smoking and encourage people to quit. Tobacco Cessation Classes are also available at the Beaufort Naval Hospital. For more information, call 228-5344 or 228-5486.

For more information on the Great American Smokeout, call toll free 1-800-ACS-2345 or visit