Since smokers were asked to not light up for one day 28 years ago, a number of changes have occurred. Smoking rates have shown a marked decrease, although tobacco use continues to be a killer.

It is estimated that in 2004 roughly 30 percent of the deaths nationwide, or 563,700 people, died a cancer-related death.

Smoke-free laws are now commonplace in a number of states from Californian to New York.

School officials have been asked to consider making all Rush County school campuses smoke- and tobacco-free, even during non-school hours. A decision on that request is expected at the December school board meeting.

According to a national survey compiled in 2003, more than 8.3 million of the estimated 46.2 million smokers nationwide participated in the Great American Smokeout, a one-day event being observed today.

The same survey found that 2.3 million individuals quit smoking for the entire 24 hour period. Based on those figures, roughly 312,000 Hoosiers are expected to smoke less or not at all today.

Smoking has been linked to a number of health concerns and diseases. Smoking is the leading cause for cancer of the larynx, pharynx, esophagus and other internal body parts. Smoking has also recently been associated with colorectal cancer, myeloid leukemia and cancers of the liver, stomach and nasal sinuses.

In recent years a growing concern has centered around secondhand smoke and the effects it has on non-smokers.

Secondhand smoke has been has been linked to more than 4,000 substances, 40 of which are known to cause cancer in humans and animals.

Studies complied between 1995 and 1999 suggest that female smokers lost an average of 14.5 years of life compared to 13.2 for males.

The American Cancer Society (ACS) suggests that for this reason alone the importance of repeated attempts and multiple approaches to quitting smoking is very important.

The ACS is dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem and to saving lives. The organization offers support as well as information for smokers who want or choose to quit by offering a toll-free support line, 24 hours a day: 1 (800) 227-2345. The ACS can also be contacted online at

Frank Denzler can be contacted at (765) 932-2222 or via e-mail at To add a comment to this story visit our Website at

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