The Jackson County Department of Public Health is encouraging the community to commit or recommit to healthy, smoke-free lives by participating in the American Cancer Society’s annual Great American Smokeout today (Thursday).

“Quitting smoking improves health immediately and over the long term,” Health Education Supervisor Janelle Messer said. “The Health Department uses the Great American Smokeout as a day to show our support for people who take those first steps towards making a plan to quit.”

Cigarette smoking is the single largest preventable cause of death and illness in the world. In fact, smoking cigarettes kills more Americans than alcohol, car accidents, HIV, guns and illegal drugs combined.

Smoking not only causes cancer. It damages nearly every organ in the body including the lungs, heart, blood vessels, reproductive organs, mouth, skin, eyes and bones.

Addiction to nicotine in cigarettes is one of the strongest and deadliest addictions one can have. Cigarette smoking rates have remained consistent over the past four years (22 percent in 2015 and 22.3 percent in 2018). Each year, approximately 50 percent of smokers try to quit, and only 7 percent succeed. An even greater percentage (68 percent) report being interested in quitting.

Quitting is hard. It takes commitment and starts with a plan, often takes more than one quit attempt and requires a lot of support. Getting help through counseling and/or prescription medications can double or triple the chances of quitting successfully. Support is also important. Smoking cessation programs, telephone quit lines, Nicotine Anonymous meetings, self-help materials, and smoking counselors or coaches can be a great help.

The Health Department has a trained tobacco treatment specialist on staff to meet with individuals or groups interested in tobacco cessation. Additionally, JCDPH promotes Quitline N.C., a resource that provides free cessation services to any North Carolina resident who needs help quitting tobacco use.

“The Health Department wants to support the people in our community in their journey to becoming healthy and happy,” Messer said. “During this year’s Great American Smokeout, we hope everyone will join in committing or recommitting to year-round, smoke-free lives.”

For questions about tobacco cessation, call Messer at 587-8238 or the Quitline N.C. at 1-800-QUIT-NOW.




The Jackson County Department of Public Health will host the first Restaurant Enrichment Meeting and Luncheon from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 17, at Southwestern Community College’s Burrell Building.

This meeting serves as an opportunity for restaurant owners and staff to connect with JCDPH environmental health staff, learn more about specific topics and network with each other.

The first meeting will include an open-ended Q&A session led by environmental health specialists from Jackson County and the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services. Staff from the N.C. Department of Agriculture will share a presentation on meat and poultry. Additionally, a representative from SCC’s Small Business Center will share information for restaurant owners.

For questions about the meeting, contact Environmental Health Program Coordinator Travis Monteith at 587-8246 or RSVP is requested; participants are encouraged to do so by calling 587-8250.