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Great American Smokeout back Thursday

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. - This Thursday, Nov. 15, is the American Cancer Society's 37th Annual Great American Smokeout, with special activities on college campuses to help young people quit. Kelsey Dumanch, from Hustisford, is a junior at UW-Eau Claire who says it's important for young people to stay away from tobacco.

"We can choose any career; we can have a family; we can travel the world; we can do whatever we want. We just have to make the decisions to do so - and that's hard, and that's life-changing - and quitting smoking is a life change."

Dumanch is an executive officer with the American Cancer Society (ACS) Colleges Against Cancer chapter at her school. Her mother is a cancer survivor, she explains.

"I've known so many people who have lost friends and family way too young. I've had friends who are my age - 20 years old - and they're already six-year cancer survivors."

On Thursday, Dumanch and other volunteers will set up a display on campus to help students and faculty kick the habit. Folks can visit their booth to hand over their tobacco.

"And when they turn their tobacco products in - whether it's cigars, cigarettes, chew, anything like that - they can exchange it for a gift card which is donated from local businesses around campus: restaurants, stores."

The ACS says tobacco products will kill 3,000 Wisconsinites this year, and that the best way to quit is to set a date and make a plan. There's also a toll-free number where anyone can get help (800-277-2345), adds Dumanch.

"It's free - you're not going to talk to a telemarketer. It's people directly from the American Cancer Society, people just like you and me, volunteering their time, helping out, who have really been trained in this to help people quit."

Online help is also available at cancer.org/smokeout.

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