Great American Smokeout Gives Locals a Chance to Kick the Habit

Danville, VA - Thursday is the Great American Smokeout, an annual day where smokers vow not to light up for one day.

Local Doctors hope it can help some quit for good.

After 38 years of lighting up, George McDonald says it's safe to call his smoking a habit.

"Out of six kids, I'm the only smoker," McDonald said. "Anything you do on a constant basis, you become addicted to."

McDonald says he isn't ready to quit, but the American Cancer Society hopes to help folks like him have a change of heart this Thursday during the Smokeout.

"If you can quit one day, the hope is that we encourage you and you feel empowered to quit forever," said Saria Saccocio, the Market Chief Medical Officer for the Southside Market at the Danville Regional Medical Center.

Saccocio is working to help people be successful. She says partnering with family and friends can be vital to staying on track.

"You're much more likely to be successful if you can get everyone to try to quit at the same time," Saccocio said.

Experts say to talk with your doctor about products designed to help you quit, but also be beware of e-cigarettes and vapor based products that may seem less harmful.

They have a lot of the same cancer causing chemicals that cigarettes have," Saccocio explained.

McDonald says he's glad to hear the community coming together to help smokers quit.

"It's a positive thing," McDonald added.

McDonald added the most important part of quitting is being ready to make the commitment for yourself.

"You can't decide because somebody else has made a suggestion. You have to make your own choice," McDonald said.

The commitment isn't easy, but Doctor Saccocio and staff are just happy to help folks take that first step.

If you would like to quit and want advice or support, you can call 1-800-QUIT-NOW.

Also, DRMC offers free smoking cessation classes.

For more information, contact Leslie Smith at .