Great American Smokeout

BLYTHEVILLE, AR  (KAIT)  --  Communities all across the nation will participate in the Great American Smokeout, an event designed to help people who use tobacco kick the habit. Heart disease kills more than 400,000 people in the U.S. every year, according to the American Lung Association.

"People don't know that there are over 4,000 chemicals in tobacco smoke," said Elroy Brown, member of the Tobacco Coalition of Mississippi County.

Brown said it's imperative people know about the dangers of smoking. He has been working with younger adults to help them become more aware of tobacco.

"The majority of our smokers started smoking before the age of 18. If you can keep youth from smoking before they're 18, usually their not smokers," said Brown.

According to the American Cancer Society, 30% of all cancer related deaths are due to tobacco usage. Second hand smoke is also deadly, accounting for 3,400 lung cancer deaths. Tens of thousands die every year from heart disease.

Brown also said there are more than 4,000 chemicals in tobacco, which cannot be found on the can or package.

"It has formaldehyde, you know, embalming fluid, in it. It would have been enough for me to see these skulls and crossbones," said Brown.

Brown said other chemicals are also found in dog food, paint thinner, bug spray, spray paint, nail polish, batteries and even gasoline.

Brown said he wants people to understand that it is illegal to smoke inside a vehicle with a small child.

"It is imperative for people to know that it is against the law to smoke with these young kids in the car."

Arkansas Act 13, which was passed in 2006, prohibits any person from smoking in a car while carrying a child weighing 60 pounds or under and 6 years old or younger. The 1st offense for this law is a $25 fine, unless the offender is entering a tobacco rehab program. The law is primary, meaning you don't have to be pulled over for some other offense to be ticketed.

"When you keep a kid in that car, locked up, and they're breathing this, you basically have a moving toxic waste dump," said Brown.

Brown hopes people use the Great American Smokeout to drop the cigarette and kick the habit.

For help on how to stop smoking, click here.

You can also call 1-866-QUIT-NOW.