Murray-Calloway County Hospital, along with CC-ASAP and Murray State University’s Health & Wellness Peer Educators are encouraging citizens in our community, and surrounding areas, to commit or recommit to healthy, tobacco-free lives by participating in the American Cancer Society Great American Smokeout on November 16, 2017. Murray State’s Health & Wellness Peer Education Program partnered with multiple community groups to host a Great American Smokeout Event on November 16th from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. in the Curris Center Dance Lounge. This event is free and open to the community. Health education materials will be available, along with health promotion tools to assist individuals in goal setting. Free ‘quit kits’ will also be distributed to those who attend.

Tobacco use is the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the United States. About half of all Americans who keep smoking will die because of the habit. Each year more than 480,000 people in the United States die from illnesses related to tobacco use. This means smoking causes about 1 out of 5 deaths in the U.S. annually. Yet, because tobacco is one of the strongest addictions one can have, about 40 million American adults still smoke. Doctors and public health officials used to encourage smokers to quit cold turkey on a single day. Today, the evidence shows that quitting is a process. It starts with a plan, often takes time and requires a lot of support. The American Cancer Society, which is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week provides support as people make their plan to quit. More information is available at or by calling 1-800-227-2345.

“The Health & Wellness Peer Educators want to help the people in our community be healthy and happy,” said Dr. Miranda Terry, assistant professor and director of the Public & Community Health program. “During this year’s Great American Smokeout, we hope everyone will join us – and encourage their friends, family, and colleagues to join us – in committing or recommitting to year-around, tobacco-free lives. We are lucky to have sponsors and have received grants to offer this event for free to our community members. Huge thanks to our sponsors Calloway County Alliance for Substance Abuse Prevention, Qdoba, Kentucky Cancer Program, and Aetna.”

Training materials for the peer education program and funding for this event received from Murray State University Strategic Planning Grant and WellCare Plans Community Health Investment Grant. The Murray State Health & Wellness Peer Educators have partnered with Murray High School Interact Club, which is a youth program associated with the Rotary Club of Murray, to offer a Great American Smokeout event during lunchtime at Murray High School on November 16th as well.

“MCCH and CC-ASAP are excited to partner with MSU’s Health & Wellness Peer Educators for this event to encourage tobacco-free living and promote wellness in our community,” said Nicole Hudson, RN, Wellness Works Coordinator for the MCCH Center for Health and Wellness.