Event to bring awareness to lung cancer

Lung cancer is the third most common cancer in the United States, and November is National Lung Cancer Awareness Month.

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer, followed by breast cancer (among women) and prostate cancer (among men), but more people die from lung cancer than any other type of cancer, according to cdc.gov.

In an effort to raise awareness, the Breathin’ for a Reason event will take place from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Harmony Park, 753 W. Second St., Seymour.

The event is being held in partnership with the Decreasing Tobacco Use Workgroup of the larger Healthy Jackson County Coalition and the city of Seymour and hosted by The Brooklyn Pizza Co. at Harmony Park.

Tyler Henkle, tobacco grant coordinator with Healthy Jackson County, said roughly 20% of cancer deaths in the United States are being attributed to lung and bronchus cancer, in addition to cigarette smoking being the No. 1 cause of lung cancer.

“We are hosting this event to highlight these facts and bring people together to remember loved ones we have lost to lung cancer and those that are still fighting these battles,” Henkle said. “Breathin’ for a Reason is a local Day of Action evolved from and inspired by the Great American Smokeout.”

The Great American Smokeout has been hosted on the third Thursday of November by the American Cancer Society for more than 40 years as an opportunity for smokers to make a plan to quit or plan in advance to use as a target date to begin a cigarette smoking quit attempt.

“The inaugural Breathin’ for a Reason event takes this idea and expands the vision of this day to include addressing the habit of ENDS (electronic nicotine delivery systems) use, commonly referred to as vaping, in order to address the use of nicotine by engaging in both respiratory-related actions,” Henkle said.

While smoking rates have declined over the past few decades in Indiana, Henkle said the rise and availability of ENDS have largely overtaken the use of cigarettes among teens and those in younger adult demographics, leading to an increase in nicotine addiction for those populations.

Breathin’ for a Reason looks to be inclusive of those who acknowledge the harmful physical and psychological effects of these respiratory-related habits by providing an opportunity to bring awareness and community involvement to offer the support and resources available for addressing these nicotine-related addictions.

“We will have many speakers, including public health workers, small business owners, people who will share their stories of their tobacco use, nicotine addiction and recovery from said addiction as well as those who have been affected by or have lost loved ones due to nicotine addiction and the actions that resulted in the death of their loved ones,” Henkle said.

Announcements will be made pertaining to resources and supports available in the community as well as innovative opportunities for the public to get further involved in decreasing tobacco use in Jackson County, he said.

The event also will be a fundraising event for the Don and Dana Myers Cancer Center in Seymour.

Henkle said those who are interested in quitting cigarettes or ENDS and anyone else in attendance will be asked if they would like to donate $5.97, which is the average price of one pack of cigarettes in Indiana.

“With a minimum donation of $5.97, the donor will also receive a ticket, which will be exchangeable for a single piece of pizza,” he said. “As the pizza is being donated to the event, all donations received will go directly to the Schneck cancer center.”

Henkle said Seymour Mayor Matt Nicholson will be issuing a proclamation marking Nov. 17, 2022, as the Great American Smokeout and Breathin’ for a Reason Day of Action.

“We are hopeful that in bringing greater awareness and opportunity to the quitting of smoking cigarettes and electronic nicotine delivery systems that we will be able to greater impact the decrease of tobacco use in Jackson County,” he said.

Information on the Great American Smokeout can be found online at cancer.org/healthy/stay-away-from-tobacco/great-american-smokeout.