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Health Department launches anti-smoking campaign

In an effort to educate the community on the dangers of smokeless tobacco products, as well as encourage residents to quit tobacco, the Southeastern Utah District Health Department is launching a campaign that focuses on local resident and former tobacco user, Vern Marvidikis.

The new campaign which includes billboards and theater ads, feature Marvidikis standing in front of a local coal mine. The copy reads, "QUITTING TIME. Coal Miner 35 Years. Tobacco Free 5 Years. To quit, call 1.800 QUIT NOW or visit"

"Carbon and Emery counties have one of the highest tobacco rates in Utah, with nearly 20 percent of the population uses tobacco - a large portion of which use smokeless tobacco," said Georgina Nowak, health educator, Southeastern Utah District Health Department. "Featuring Vern in this campaign is a great way to get the word out on the dangers of tobacco use, as many residents can relate to him and his story."

Marvidikis began using tobacco when he was 17 years old. Not only did he smoke, he also used smokeless tobacco for 33 years. He gave up all tobacco products five years ago. "Smokeless tobacco was by far the most difficult for me to give up," he said.

According to Marvidikis, one of the main reasons he quit smoking was for his wife, Debbie. He saw how much it hurt her, and he wanted to live a quality life in her company and watch their children grow up.

"It makes me very happy to know that by not using tobacco I am a positive influence on my family and friends," he said. "I hope that this campaign will encourage other people in our community to quit tobacco."

For free help quitting tobacco, call the Utah Tobacco Quit Line at 1.800.QUIT.NOW or visit

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