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Kick Butts helps smokers kick the habit

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by Jolene Toves

Guam - Smoking tobacco is one of the nation's leading addictions despite the warnings of the impacts it has on a person's health. As Public Health's Liz Guerrero shares the toll it takes on a person's health is great.

"Tobacco use and smoking affects everything in your body and it worsens heart disease which is the number one killer here on Guam of course cancer diabetes stroke all of it is related to tobacco use," she explained.

Today about 1,200 flags littered the ground representing those who have died as a result of tobacco use. "One flag represents one death a day to tobacco related illnesses so nationwide that's 1,200 a day on Guam its one a day so we lose 365 loved ones every year on Guam," she added.

But the Kick Butts Campaign hopes to change those statistics. According to Guerrero close to 70 percent of smokers want to quit, however quitting is not easy. That is where the Kick Butts Campaign is ready to lend a hand in kicking the habit. "That extra assistance comes in the form of quit coaching which is the counseling, nicotine replacement like gum and patches and those are free through our quit line," she said.

Getting those who smoke to quit is not the only mission, preventing the creation of replacement smokers is key.  "It's a pledge wall and it's pledging to be tobacco free or to quit and also to speak out against the big tobacco companies that are targeting the youth," Guerrero explained.

Guerrero says one in five high school students smoke, numbers Public Health would like to see decrease even further. Getting the word out is the start as students from around the island took to the wall to pledge a smoke free life, sending a message to smokers to rethink using tobacco. If you would like to kick the habit contact 1-800-QUITNOW (783-8669) or visit the Department of Public Health for more information.

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