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HAWC encourages smokers to go "Cold Turkey"

The Health and Wellness Center at Minot Air Force Base, N.D., is scheduled to host a 5K race in honor of the Great American Smokeout Nov, 17, 2016. The Great American Smokeout is an annual event hosted on the third Thursday of November to encourage tobacco users to quit for a day and promote a smoke-free lifestyle.

The Health and Wellness Center at Minot Air Force Base, N.D., is scheduled to host a 5K race in honor of the Great American Smokeout Nov, 17, 2016. The Great American Smokeout is an annual event hosted on the third Thursday of November to encourage tobacco users to quit for a day and promote a smoke-free lifestyle.

MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D., -- The Health and Wellness Center at Minot Air Force Base is scheduled to host a 5K race in honor of the Great American Smokeout on Nov. 17, 2016.

The Great American Smokeout is an annual event hosted on the third Thursday of November to encourage tobaccoo users to quit for a day and promote a smoke-free lifestyle.

“The goal behind this event is that if people can go 24 hours without tobacco, maybe they can go a little bit longer,” said Lori Halvorson, 5th Medical Operations Squadron health promotion coordinator.

The 5k’s theme is “Cold Turkey Trot” to encourage smokers to quit tobacco-use “cold turkey.”

Although the race is primarily coordinated to inspire tobacco users to quit, friends and family participation is also encouraged.

“Anyone who is interested in improving their own or their loved one’s health can participate,” said Halvorson.

Free turkey soup samples, Gatorade slushies and information about tobacco cessation will be available during the event.

A carbon monoxide smoke analyzer will also be available to detect carbon monoxide levels in smokers and people exposed to second-hand smoke.

“People can blow into the machine and in less than a minute get their results,” said Halvorson. “The machine can tell if someone is a light, heavy or addictive smoker.”

The race will be conducted around the McAdoo Fitness Center, however, if inclement weather arises it will be at the indoor track.

According to the American Cancer Society, tobacco-use and cigarette smoking remains the largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the world.

“Tobacco users typically start using when they’re bored or stressed,” said Halvorson, “So exercise is a great alternative to take your mind off those factors.”

Chewing gum, sunflower seeds and alternate distractions are key methods in tobacco cessation, said Halvorson.

“One method to quitting smoking is rate reduction,” said Halvorson. “For example, if you smoke one full pack a day simply reduce it to 16 or 14 cigarettes a day and continue to reduce daily.”
Quitting smoking has immediate and long term benefits.

“What most people don’t know is that within 20 minutes of your last cigarette your blood pressure and pulse rate have already decreased,” said Sheena Swanner, 5th Medical Support Squadron dietician. “After one full year, your chances of developing coronary artery disease is reduced by 50%.”

The race is one way to jump-start quitting tobacco-use.

Halvorson concluded with additional benefits to quitting, such as exercise improves attitude, job performance and physical fitness standards, said Halvorson.

To register for the 5K, visit the fitness center’s front desk or by call 701-723-2145 until 11:30 a.m. on Nov. 17, 2016. For information on tobacco cessation, contact Halvorson at 701-723-5399.
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