Today, the American Cancer Society (ACS) hosts its 37thGreat American Smokeout, which takes place annually on the third Thursday of every November. It’s a day that encourages tobacco users to quit their habit. By quitting, they will be taking an important step towards a healthier life, one that can lead to reducing their risk for cancer.
Quitting is hard, but you are not alone. The Great American Smokeout is a way to quit alongside millions of people across the country. Through the Great American Smokeout, the ACS aims to help increase people’s chances of success by providing them with quit-smoking programs, resources and support.
On the fence about quitting?
If you are thinking about quitting smoking, or want someone you love or care about to quit, consider these facts about smoking.
- Tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the US, yet about 43.8 million Americans still smoke cigarettes –that’s nearly 1 in every 5 adults (ACS.com).
- In the United States, cigarette smoking causes more than 440,000 deaths annually (including deaths from secondhand smoke).
- Life expectancy for smokers is at least 10 years shorter than for nonsmokers because smoking harms nearly every organ of the body, causing many diseases and affecting the health of smokers in general.
It’s never too late to quit
The health benefits of quitting smoking begin almost instantly after you finish your last cigarette. These stats from the American Cancer Society show how your body starts to heal itself over time after you quit:
Immediate benefits include…
- Your breath smells better
- Your teeth can become less discolored
- Your clothes and hair will not smell of smoke
- Your fingernails will return to their natural color and be less yellow
- Your sense of smell returns
- 9You can feel less short of breath after doing light activities
After you quit, your body will begin to heal itself over time. Here’s how…
- After 20 minutes: Your heart rate and blood pressure drop to normal levels.
- After 12 hours: The carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal.
- After 2 weeks to 3 months: Your circulation improves and your lung function increases.
- After 1-9 months: Coughing and shortness of breath decrease.
- After 1 year: The excess risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a continuing smoker’s.
- After 5 years: Risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, and bladder are cut in half. Cervical cancer risks falls to that of a non-smoker.
- After 10 years: The risk of dying from lung cancer is about half that of a person who is still smoking. The risk of pancreas and larynx cancer decreases.
- After 15 years: Your risk of coronary heart disease is that of a non-smoker’s
Save your lungs and your wallet
If these health benefits aren’t enough, you should consider the financial benefits you would receive if you quit smoking. Calculate the cost of your smoking habit with The American Cancer Society’s Smoke Cost Calculator, which breaks down how much your habit has cost you throughout your lifetime—and will continue to cost you if you don’t quit.
For more tools and resources to help you quit smoking, visit:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Quit Smoking Page: http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/quit_smoking/index.htm
The American Cancer Society Great American Smokeout and Support and Treatment pages: http://www.cancer.org/healthy/stayawayfromtobacco/greatamericansmokeout/indexhttp://www.cancer.org/treatment/index
SmokeFree.gov’s website which covers many different scenarios for people wanting to quit and ways to approach someone about wanting them to quit: http://smokefree.gov/
If you are a Health Advocate member and want to quit smoking, call us today! Our Personal Health Advocates can connect you with resources to help you quit. And if you have access to Health Advocate’s Wellness Coaching program, you can get tobacco cessation help from one of our Wellness Coaches. You can do it—quit today!