Over 13 pounds of cigarette butts collected ahead of Great American Smokeout

Earlier this month, on Nov. 5, several Wrangell High School cheerleaders helped SEARHC employee Tammi Meissner pick up cigarette butts on Front Street. In an email to the Sentinel, Meissner said that they managed to clean up 13.4 pounds of cigarette butts from the street and sidewalks. This was done ahead of the Great American Smokeout, which is celebrated annually on the third Thursday of November. The GASO is hosted by the American Cancer Society to promote the risks of smoking and ways to quit the habit.

"More than 34 million Americans still smoke cigarettes, and smoking remains the single largest preventable cause of death and illness in the world," the American Cancer Society's web page reads. "Smoking causes an estimated 480,000 deaths every year, or about 1 in 5 deaths."

According to a 2018 report by the state department of health and social services, the percentage of adult smokers in Alaska has decreased by 27.7 percent, or about 41,000 people, between 1996 and 2016. Smoking among high school students has declined to 9.9 percent in 2017, with more of them using e-cigarettes than regular cigarettes. The report also says that between 2012 and 2016 there were 697 smoking-related deaths in the state and smoking costs approximately $574 million in direct medical expenses and $264 million in lost productivity per year.

More information can be found on the American Cancer Society's website at http://www.cancer.org.


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