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Hall of Famer Killebrew to visit Victory Field

July 29, 2004 - International League (IL) - Indianapolis Indians News Release

Indianapolis, IN-July 29, 2004 – More than just baseball will be going on during the Tribe’s August 3 game with the Durham Bulls: Hall of Famer and former Minnesota Twin and Indianapolis Indian, Harmon Killebrew, will be at Victory Field teaming up with the Indians to encourage Indianapolis smokers to quit. In addition to cheering on his favorite minor league team, greeting fans and throwing out the first pitch, Killebrew will be signing autographs from 5:30 p.m. until 8:00 p.m.; smoking cessation counselors will be available from 5:30 p.m. and throughout the game to offer Indianapolis smokers tips on improving their chances of quitting.

Unfortunately, forty-six million people in the U.S. smoke cigarettes and Indiana adults and high school students account for 1,336,400 of them. Each year in Indiana, 10,200 adults die from their own smoking, while 1,690 adults, children and babies die as a result of secondhand smoke. During his time with the Twins, Killebrew realized how important quitting smoking was for his game and for his future. Nicknamed as the "Killer," he was determined to defeat his smoking habit and now, he wants to help others conquer their habit too.

"It takes a lot of dedication to quit smoking and whether you give up for good on your first try or have to give it a couple of tries—just keep swinging at it and you will succeed," said Killebrew. "It was hard for me to quit smoking, especially because back then we didn’t have help like nicotine patches, gum and the lozenge that smokers have today. If smokers are able to understand their own smoking habits and what quitting aids could help them most, then they have taken the first step towards quitting and have better chances of being successful."

As Killebrew experienced firsthand, quitting smoking is difficult—especially without support. Public health and medical experts advise that the best way to quit successfully is to try an over-the-counter stop-smoking aid, such as nicotine replacement therapies (NRT), or prescription stop-smoking therapies. These aids, including gum, patches and the lozenge, have made it easier for smokers to safely wean themselves off of nicotine without being exposed to the harmful toxins in cigarette smoke. NRT is widely available at local grocery stores and pharmacies and has been used by millions of Americans.

As part of their ongoing effort to educate the public about the effects of smoking and available treatment options, GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare is sponsoring the Indians’ effort to offer smokers and the public quitting advice. Cessation experts will be offering counseling to all Indianapolis Indians fans that are thinking about quitting. Counselors also will provide useful information to anyone who wants support in helping a loved one quit. Killebrew will be signing autographs for fans, as well as those people getting information about stopping smoking.

"My fans gave me a reason to stop smoking and now it is my turn to give back to them. I hope I can make them realize how important it is for them to live their lives to the fullest and to stop smoking." More information about the how to make attempts to quit smoking more successful is available online at

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