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TRU clubs send "quit kits" to soldiers

Weddington High TRU Club Advisor, Tanja Donelson, with TRU club members, Dana Donelson, Stephanie McGough and Ryan Donelson.

In recognition of both Veteran’s Day and the Great American Smokeout in November, three Union county high schools assembled and mailed over 250 “tobacco quit kits” to soldiers deployed overseas. The TRU (Tobacco Reality Unfiltered) clubs at Weddington, Marvin Ridge and Sun Valley high schools, along with the Freshman Focus class at Sun Valley High, embraced the idea as a service project. These students promote tobacco free environments and living a tobacco free lifestyle, and support those who seek to quit tobacco use.

Inspired by two UCPS teachers who are TRU Club advisors and have served in the military, the students rallied their schools to bring in supplies such as packages of gum, mints, candy, toothpicks, stress balls, silly putty, playing cards, etc. to be placed in the kits. Literature on support resources for the soldiers and tips for battling nicotine addiction were also added. Students wrote personal notes to the soldiers thanking them for their service and reassuring them that everyone back home is praying for their safe and healthy return, free from tobacco addiction.

Tobacco use is a serious problem for the military, with active-duty personnel using tobacco at much higher rates than the general population. While approximately 21 percent of U.S. adults smoke, up to 49 percent of U.S. deployed servicemen ages 18-24 smoke and up to 27 percent use smokeless tobacco. (U.S. Department of Defense) Military studies show that tobacco use actually compromises the readiness of our troops and imposes high costs on the veterans administration. Because of the highly addictive nature of tobacco, servicemen who start using overseas come home with an addiction that puts their health at risk and can take years to overcome.

The goal of the Great American Smokeout (GASO) which is November 17, 2011, is to walk away from tobacco for at least one day. This nationally recognized day is sponsored by the American Cancer Society and serves as a great opportunity to promote awareness about the dangers of tobacco as well as resources to help people quit. The Department of Defense supports GASO by encouraging military personnel and their families to walk away from tobacco. To help smokers quit, the Department of Defense promotes its interactive online program at www.ucanquit2.org to assist active duty personnel with practical tips and tools in quitting a nicotine addiction. For local residents, the North Carolina Quit Line at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) or www.quitlinenc.com is an excellent free and confidential resource to help youth or adults quit tobacco use.

Written by: Kim Bayha, Tobacco Prevention Specialist
Posted: Nov 09, 2011 by Kim Bayha

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