Annual smokeout event encourages quitting

By Mickey Winfield: PNT staff writer

Prompted by the concerns of his 6-year-old son, Cannon Air Force Base tech sergeant Eugene Von Bon is trying to quit smoking.

“My son started figuring it out,” said Von Bon, who is in charge of the dental center at the base. “He knows his grandma died of cancer, he knows that cigarettes cause cancer and he knows that I smoke. So he started putting everything together and it started to bug him.”

Thursday marks the 33rd Great American Smokeout — a day set aside to inspire and encourage smokers to quit for one day. According to the American Cancer Society, more than 44 percent of the 45 million Americans who smoke have attempted to quit for at least one day in the past year.

According to Joanna Von Bon, her husband has tried to quit about 10 times during their nine-year marriage.

“I’m pretty proud of him trying to quit again,” Joanna said. “This time around, I’ve actually gotten my son in on it. Now he has both of us trying to support him on this.”

The Air Force veteran made up his mind to quit smoking in late September.

Von Bon said that this is just the latest in several attempts he’s made to kick the habit.

“I’m actually having a fairly easier time (quitting) than before,” Von Bon said. “Most folks that quit successfully have done it going cold turkey.”

“I’ve had a slip here and there,” Von Bon admitted. “For the most part, I’m doing pretty good and it’s getting easier by the day.”

After learning of a weak moment recently, Patrick Von Bon scolded his dad.

“You screwed up, dad,” Patrick said.

Every day that goes by without smoking, Patrick awards his dad with a congratulatory, “Good job dad, thanks for not smoking.”

“As long as he keeps trying, quite possibly it will work,” Joanna said.

In conjunction with the Great American Smokeout, the Clovis Relay for Life is holding its kickoff event from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Plains Regional Cancer Center.

The 14th annual event is scheduled for May 8-9 at Ned Houk Park.