The Great American Smokeout®
Every year, on the third Thursday in November, the American Cancer Society (ACS) encourages smokers to participate in the Great American Smokeout. Mark the date as the day you’ll quit smoking or make a plan to quit smoking. Quitting can be hard, but even quitting for one day is an important step toward a healthier life and a reduced risk of cancer and other diseases.
Smoking is an entirely preventable cause of death and disease. When you quit, you immediately start to see health benefits, and those benefits increase over time. Check out the following facts from the ACS.
- 20 minutes after quitting: your heart rate and blood pressure drop
- 12 hours after quitting: the carbon monoxide level in your blood returns to normal
- 2 weeks to 3 months after quitting: your circulation improves and your lung function increases
- 1 to 9 months after quitting: Coughing and shortness of breath decrease
- 1 year after quitting: The extra risk of heart disease is half that of someone who still smokes
- 5 years after quitting: The risk of cancers of the mouth, throat, esophagus, and bladder is cut in half.
- 10 years after quitting: The risk of dying from lung cancer is about half of someone who still smokes
Smoking is also expensive. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that in 2014, the average cost of a pack of cigarettes was $6.28. If you smoke a pack a day, that’s about $188.00 a month, or about $2,260 a year! And that’s without factoring in the extra health-related costs.
Tools to Help
Quitting can be difficult, but there are a number of tools to help you.
- The ACS website offers a Guide to Quitting Smoking that includes planning tools, ways to deal with the addiction, staying quit, and tips for helping someone else quit. From their Great American Smokeout page, you can also download a Quit for Life mobile app.
- The National Cancer Institute provides a number of different resources for quitting smoking. You can also call in to their national (1-877-44U-QUIT) and state (1-800-QUIT-NOW) quitlines.
- Smokefree.gov is a website dedicated to helping you quit smoking. The site features downloadable apps, an online chat tool, daily challenges, personalized planning, and other tools and information.
- The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website also offers tips for creating a quit plan, ways to manage your cravings, a social support community, and support hotlines for English, Spanish, and Asian language speakers.