This Thursday is the Great American Smokeout.

Local anti-smoking efforts are being organized by Healthy Communities at Columbus Regional Hospital. Kylee Jones, tobacco awareness coordinator for Healthy Communities explains that she will be leading a class from St. Peters Lutheran School on an anti-smoking project on Thursday.

The sixth graders will be picking up cigarette butts from the street, starting at The Commons and then up Washington Street to about Fifth Street. She said the goal is to help show the chlidren how nasty smoking can be.

Jones said that the American Cancer Society encourages tobacco users to quit cold turkey during the Great American Smokeout, whether it is a minute, hour or the whole day as a way to feel what it is like to be smoke-free.

Jones said that Columbus Regional Hospital will be picking up its smoking cessation classes again in January. The classes are held five times a year in eight-week sessions. The classes cost $35, which covers the cost of the books and other materials. Participants will also be given nicotine patches or gum.

For more information, go to the Healthy Communities Tobacco Awareness page on crh.org.

You can call 1-800-QUIT-NOW to speak to a smoking counselor 24-hours a day, seven days a week.