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A good time to quit smoking

For more than 40 years, the American Cancer Society has hosted the Great American Smokeout on the third Thursday of November. The Great American Smokeout is an opportunity for people who smoke to commit to healthy, smoke-free lives, not just for a day, but year-round.

This event challenges people to stop smoking and helps people learn about the many tools they can use to help them quit and stay quit.

The 2020 Smokeout, held on Nov. 19, provides an opportunity for Maine tobacco users to begin their smoke-free journey along with thousands of others from across the country. Quitting smoking is the single most important thing a smoker can do to live a longer and healthier life. In Maine, nearly one in five adults smokes and tobacco use continues to be the leading cause of preventable disease and death.

The Maine QuitLink is an online resource to support Maine residents to be tobacco-free and to connect to tobacco treatment. The staff through the Maine QuitLink offer assistance in developing a plan for quitting and are committed to making a difference through support that can help you stay tobacco-free for life. You can reach the Maine Quitlink by calling 1-800-QUIT-NOW 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has provided this guidance: Being a current or former cigarette smoker increases your risk of severe illness from COVID-19. If you currently smoke, quit. If you used to smoke, don’t start again. If you’ve never smoked, don’t start.

So wear your mask, watch your distance, wash your hands and quit smoking. Every day and any day is a good time to quit.

Kenneth I. Lewis

Senior Director

MaineHealth Center for Tobacco Independence


A national disgrace

I did not expect President Donald Trump to acknowledge defeat, but I held out hope that the Republican congressional and party leaders would put country before party. Sadly, I was mistaken.

Republican sycophants are complicit in Trump’s farcical claims that the election process was somehow fraudulent and President-elect Joe Biden’s win illegitimate. Trump’s refusal to allow cooperation with Biden’s transition hurts every American when there is a lack of coordination on a vaccine distribution plan, an economic recovery plan, and our national security.

As the COVID-19 toll mounts, Trump is out on the golf course, and Republicans, with few exceptions including Sen. Susan Collins, refuse to acknowledge the clear outcome of the election and impede the critical transition process. This is a disgrace.

Gianna Marrs


Holidays helping our mental health

As a lover of the holidays, especially Christmas, as soon as it hits Nov.1 I always look forward to the upcoming season. Now, not everyone loves the holidays like I do, and that’s perfectly okay, but no one can disagree that it is one of the happiest times of the year!

And with everything that has happened this year, I think that the holidays are going to be even more important than ever. It has been acknowledged that throughout the pandemic, especially during the quarantine this spring, metal health has been impacted significantly. Isolation has been hard on all of us, but I hope that the holidays can be a time when we have an excuse to get together with our friends and family (safely, of course), and overall be a little bit more happy.

In normal years, sometimes people think that depression and suicide rates spike during the holidays, but the opposite is true! The CDC states that suicide rates are actually the lowest during the month of December, maybe because it’s hard to be sad during the holidays!

Even though this year has been hard for so many people both financially and emotionally, it is important that we use the holidays as a chance to recharge our mental health batteries and have a bit of optimism looking into 2021.

Audrey Buswell