Tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the us, yet more than 45 million americans still smoke cigarettes.
On Thursday, the American Cancer Society and the Midwestern State University Respiratory Therapists Association teamed up for a run full of color aimed at helping smokers quit.
Dozens of runners took part in the first ever 5K Color Run held at Sikes Lake.
Regan Nabors, community manager of development for the American Cancer Society, encourages participants to color their run and not their lungs, a message depicting how coated a human lung can get after inhaling tobacco smoke.
"Today is the day that the American Cancer Society says if you can quit for a day, you can quit for a lifetime. It's the Great American Smokeout," Nabors says.
Nabors says MSU students wanted to do something different for the 37th annual Great American Smokeout.
"Obviously the color run is something new and hip and I think it went over really well in our community... It takes a lot of effort to run a 5K and whether you walk or run, it's better than smoking.
MSU Respiratory Therapists Association President Megan Richardson says they weren't expecting such a great turnout.
"I'm so happy," Richardson says. "This is our first year to do this so we had no idea what to expect but I think we probably had about 200 runners.
Richardson says the most important message was letting smokers know there are resources available to help them quit.
"We also want to make sure to get awareness out to everybody that there are places to help you if you want to stop smoking," Richardson says.
Nabors says next year's color run will be bigger and better.
All proceeds from Thursday's run will benefit the American Cancer sSciety and MSU's Respiratory Association.
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