LEWISTON – Thursday, Nov. 16, will mark the 30th anniversary of the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smoke Out. The event has been recognized as a platform to educate the public on the dangers associated with tobacco use and to inspire and encourage smokers to quit for a lifetime by starting with one day.

Display tables will be set up in Central Maine Medical Center’s ER lobby as well as St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center, 99 Campus Ave., for the public to visit and get free information on tips to quit using tobacco. Display tables will be up from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Also in the CMMC ER lobby from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., GlaxoSmithKline will join Healthy Androscoggin in providing free information as well as conducting demonstrations with their facial age progression machine. The machine takes a digital image of a smoker’s face and in two-year increments shows the premature aging of the skin if the smoker continues to use tobacco.

The digital image can be streamlined into a video and sped up to show a movie of how a person will look after 50 or more years of smoking. Less than 12 of the machines exists, and Healthy Androscoggin was able to reserve one early on. People are invited to stop by the display table and check out the free resources, including quit kits.

Wendy Tardif, Healthy Androscoggin community health manager and certified tobacco treatment specialist, said, “Quitting tobacco is a process and the Great American Smoke Out is an opportunity to encourage learning about that process. A tobacco user’s chances of success increase with each quit attempt because they learn valuable skills to help them in the future.”

Healthy Androscoggin will kick off its annual tobacco support group at 5:30 p.m. in CMMC, 12 High Street Building, Conference Room C. Refreshments will be provided and complementary quit kits will be given to all tobacco users who attend. The event is free and open to the public.

Tardif and Bonnie Bickford of the American Cancer Society will be the keynote speakers. The support group will meet from 6 to 7 p.m. Thursdays in Conference Room H until January, then it will move to St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center for the duration of the program through May. St. Mary’s will offer tobacco cessation programs to the public starting in January. Call 777-8543 for more information.

Finally, Healthy Androscoggin will kick off its eighth annual Quit and Win program and will begin taking registrations during the Great American Smoke Out. Quit and Win is a five-week tobacco cessation program that encourages and motivates individuals to quit by providing information, quit tips and social support and each person must register with a buddy to assist them in the process.

Quit and Win offers folks the chance to qualify for a prize drawing of up to $500 cash. For more information, call Healthy Androscoggin at 795-5990.

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