As part of the 30th Annual Great American Smokeout, the GW Cancer Institute, Medical Center, Hospital and Medical Faculty Associates partnered last Thursday to offer a free one-second lung function test outside the Foggy Bottom Metro station.
The pulmonary function test helps to detect lung disease before symptoms appear simply by blowing into a device that tests breathing capacity. The Great American Smokeout aims to help smokers quit the dangerous habit.
“Smoking is the most preventable cause of premature death in this country. If people want to do something good for themselves and the people around them, they should stop smoking,” said. Amy Stone, an assistant professor of Medicine, in a press release.
Smoking is linked to at least 10 different cancers and accounts for 30 percent of all cancer deaths. Besides lung cancer, tobacco use also increases risk for cancer of the mouth, nasal cavities, larynx, pharynx, esophagus, stomach and liver, among other organs. The World Health Organization reports that tobacco is more addictive than cocaine or heroin.
Among the 50 to 60 people tested in the first hour was Jenny Cooke, a sophomore. After three years of smoking, Cooke quit three months ago. After her test, Jenny got a printout with results saying that her lungs looked great.
The next testee was not as fortunate. After seeing her results, the administrator of the test suggested she see a doctor immediately.
Stone suggested that besides the patch and gum, those who want to quit can go to their doctors to request medication to help them.