Great American Smokeout battles wage

  • Published
  • By Senior Master Sgt. Michael J. Land
  • American Forces Network - Aviano
"D-Day" usually evokes memories of the World War II battle on the beaches of Normandy, but the term also generally applies to the day on which a combat attack or operation is to be initiated.

It make sense then that the first Great American Smokeout observation in the 1970s was called "D Day," according to the American Cancer Society.

So, let the attack on addiction to smoking begin.

But, contrary to the huge team effort assaulting the beaches required, some smokers will choose to face this battle alone.

"I've thought about it for years," said Staff Sgt. Christie Majors, a smoker who plans to quit for the day. "You're never going to quit smoking for somebody else; you have to do it for yourself. I'd prefer to do it on my own, and I'd prefer to do it cold turkey than resorting to medications."

Important health reasons aside, there are social implications to stopping smoking.

"Your clothes smell, your breath smells. I've gone for a couple days and then just went out to have a social cigarette and it just tastes really bad which is good," Sergeant Majors said.

Just as planning and training are required for a successful battle, Sergeant Majors has also "prepared the battlefield."

She's quit smoking in her car and doesn't go out to smoke after she eats, she said. "I'll (usually) go out and have one in the mornings, so obviously come Thursday that will be my next big step is if I don't have that one in the morning. Then I haven't had one all day and I think I'll be okay."

Peer support and encouragement can help though, and one of Sergeant Major's fellow Airman will be available to help as needed.

If someone has ever tried to quit smoking before they know it's not easy, said Tech. Sgt. Gina Francis of the Human Performance Flight. She said it's common for smokers to try to quit more than once.

"Don't get discouraged or down on yourself, there's always tomorrow. You can take one day at a time," she said.

That day is here: The third Thursday of November falls on Nov. 16 this year.