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      Great American Smoke Out encourages quitting

      New Year's Day may be over a month away, but Thursday might be the best day for smokers to make a life-changing resolution.

      For the last 36 years the American Cancer Society has designated November 17 as the Great American Smoke Out, in hopes that smokers nationwide will kick the butt.

      The issue is especially relevant here in Marquette County where health officials say the smoking population is among the highest in the state.

      To combat this problem, the Marquette County Health Department has increased their public awareness campaign.

      "Those numbers right there concern us," said Sarah Derwin of the Marquette County Health Department. "In the past we've had dips where we've had lower percentages, but we can oftentimes see that when we had a lot of media and projects going on."

      They are also holding a quit smoking workshop on Thursday evening from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. at their offices in Negaunee Township.

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