MURRAY, Ky. — A student organization at Murray State University is encouraging students and the greater community to commit to healthy, tobacco-free lives by participating in the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout Nov. 16, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., in the Curris Center’s dance lounge.

This event is hosted by Murray State’s Health and Wellness Peer Education program and is free and open to the community. Health education materials will be available along with health promotion tools to assist in goal setting. Free “quit kits” will also be distributed to those who attend.

“The Health and Wellness Peer Education program wants to help the people in our community be healthy and happy,” said Dr. Miranda Terry, assistant professor and director of the public and community health program at Murray State. “During this year’s Great American Smokeout, we hope everyone will join us — and encourage their friends, family and colleagues to join us — in committing or recommitting to year-round, tobacco-free lives.”

Tobacco use is the single largest and most preventable cause of disease and premature death in the United States with more than 480,000 people in the U.S. dying each year from related illnesses. Doctors and public health officials used to encourage smokers to quit cold turkey but today’s evidence shows that quitting is a process. It starts with a plan, often takes time and requires support.

The American Cancer Society is a national resource that is available 24/7 to provide that support as people make their plans to quit. More information about the American Cancer Society is available at or by calling 1-800-227-2345.

Sponsors for the Great American Smokeout at Murray State include Aetna, Calloway County Alliance for Substance Abuse Prevention, Kentucky Cancer Program and Qdoba. Training materials for the peer-education program as well as additional funding for this event are courtesy of the Murray State University Strategic Planning Grant and the WellCare Plans Community Health Investment Grant. The Murray State Health and Wellness Peer Education program has also partnered with the Murray High School Interact Club, a youth program associated with the Rotary Club of Murray, to offer a Great American Smokeout event Nov. 16 during lunchtime at Murray High School.

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