September 2012, TruckingInfo.com - Feature
As part of this year's National Truck Driver Appreciation & Wellness Week, the Truckload Carriers Association has designated Sept. 20 as "Ditch the Pack" day.
TCA asks that all smokers affiliated with the trucking industry -- from dispatchers and drivers, to safety directors and executives-- try to reduce or stop smoking, even for just one day.
The goals of the effort are to raise awareness of the benefits of quitting and show support for those starting or continuing their smoke-free journey.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about one in five Americans smoke. Even worse for the trucking industry, a PubMed Research study on occupational exposures and lung cancer found that 67% of all long haul truck drivers smoke. The good news is that the benefits of quitting can be felt almost immediately.
The CDC states that after 20 minutes without a puff, an individual's heart rate returns to normal. After 12 hours, carbon monoxide levels in the blood decrease. Between two weeks and three months, the risk of having a heart attack decreases and lung function begins to improve. The benefits continue to grow as more time passes, and by 15 years, a former smoker's risks in many categories return to about the same levels as people who have never smoked.
Dave Nemo, a radio personality who currently hosts "The Dave Nemo Show" on SiriusXM Satellite Radio, is a former smoker who quit the habit many years ago. "There are many things that can motivate you to ditch the pack," he says. "Keep searching for that one thing that'll make the difference.
:We all know we should quit smoking, but finding the key to make us want to quit will lead to success. Quit a thousand times if you have to. One day it will stick. Sure it's a tough battle, but truckers are tough people."
Nemo will participate in a "Celebrity Walk" to draw attention to better health habits for truck drivers on Sept. 18 at 7 p.m. at the Antioch, Tenn., TA/Petro truckstop location.
"Ditch the Pack" day is just one of many health-oriented activities being planned for National Truck Driver Appreciation & Wellness Week, Sept. 16-22. A complete listing of all NTDAWW promotions can be found on www.DriverAppreciation.com.