Thursday, Nov. 15 marked the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout (GASO). The Northwest Arkansas Tobacco-Free Coalition (NWATFC) held a press conference in Fayetteville and the Coalition for Tobacco Free Arkansas (CFTFA) hosted a luncheon in Little Rock to recognize the national health observance.
The NWATFC teamed up with the University of Arkansas chapter of Colleges Against Cancer and Fayetteville Mayor, Lioneld Jordan, to host a press conference to celebrate the Great American Smokeout. The press conference was also designed to share information on Operation Storefront, an initiative to collect local data on the tobacco industry’s use of marketing strategies and retail advertising to target Arkansans. In addition, students from Fayetteville High School drew chalk outlines of people to represent the 135 Arkansans who are estimated to die from tobacco use in Fayetteville this year. The NWATFC also displayed an exhibit from its Project Photovoice, an activity where Arkansas youth express their views through the lenses of their own cameras about the influence of tobacco in their lives.
The CFTFA luncheon held at Stickyz Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicken Shack in downtown Little Rock included a discussion of the health effects of smoking, quitting assistance available through the Arkansas Tobacco Quitline and information about exposure to secondhand smoke. Stickyz reduced exposure to secondhand smoke for its workers and patrons last year when it became a smoke-free restaurant and bar. The program also featured nationally renowned comedienne Rene Hicks, a nonsmoker who lost a portion of her lung from performing in smoky nightclubs and bars.