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Release: Immediate

Great American Smokeout plans set for UI, Johnson County

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The 1997 Great American Smokeout (GAS) will be celebrated on Thursday, Nov. 20. In preparation for the event, Survivor's Kits will be available at eight sites in Johnson County to smokers who wish to quit and to people who want to help a friend or loved one kick the tobacco addiction.

The kits will be available at two University of Iowa sites: in the main lobby of the UI Hospitals and Clinics, and at Student Health Service. The UIHC lobby will also feature an exhibit on the effects of smoking and on the GAS.

Free pulmonary screenings will be available from 1-3 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 20, the day of the GAS, in the main lobby of the UIHC.

The Great American Smokeout was initiated 21 years ago this month, according to Carolyn Beelner, a counselor at the UIHC John and Mary Pappajohn Clinical Cancer Center and this year's Johnson County Tobacco Control chairperson.

"We encourage anyone who wants to quit smoking to participate in the 1997 Great American Smokeout," Beelner says. "To help them do that, we are offering the free Survivor's Kits, which include a coupon for nicotine gum, a rubber band for negative reinforcement, some chewing gum, toothpicks, hard candy, a sucker and a list of suggestions that can help them quit."

Also in the kit will be a sponsor contract, which can be used to create a pact between smokers wanting to quit and someone who is willing to help them.

"We have found the contracts to be helpful tools for people who want to give up tobacco addiction," Beelner says.

The Survivor's Kits will be distributed from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Nov. 18 at the following sites: main lobby of the UIHC; UI Student Health Service; the main lobby of the Veterans Affairs Medical Center; the United Technology cafeteria; the Procter and Gamble Co. cafeteria; the Oral B cafeteria; the National Computer Systems cafeteria; and the main lobby of Mercy Hospital.

For more information about the Great American Smokeout, contact Joan Felker at the UIHC, 356-4262.