NAF Atsugi gets ‘The Smoke Out’
According to a 2008 survey conducted by the American Lung Association, approximately 30 percent of U.S. Navy Sailors are smokers.
In an effort to combat this growing statistic, Naval Air Facility (NAF) Atsugi’s Morale, Welfare and Recreation Liberty Program, Branch Health Clinic (BHC) Atsugi and the American Red Cross joined forces to bring the Great American Smoke Out (GASO) to the community Nov. 18-21.
GASO is an information campaign started by the American Cancer Association in an effort to get people to stop using tobacco products.
“It is better for the community overall to stop smoking because of things like secondhand smoke, which is one of the largest contributing factors to lung cancer in nonsmokers,” said MWR Liberty Center Director Lindsey Hawley.
During the week-long initiative, representatives from each organization set up stations at the Commissary, Navy Exchange, Club Trilogy and the Mini Mart where Sailors were invited to fill out cards pledging not to smoke for at least one day.
“In the past, research has shown that when one person tries to quit, it can be almost impossible keeping to it. When a group chooses to stop the results for success are through the roof,” said Hospitalman Mercedes Lawson, of BHC Atsugi. “I hope smokers would think twice about how what they’re doing is affecting them at least for the sake of those around them.”
By mid-week more than 200 Sailors from NAF Atsugi and its tenant commands made their pledge to quit smoking. Throughout the campaign, GASO representatives had great hopes that the endeavor would be a success.
“In the past few years we’ve been really very successful with reducing the number of smokers here at NAF Atsugi,” said Lawson. “We hope that one day we won’t have to have this event, because we’ll have been so successful that no one here at Atsugi smokes.”