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News & Information

Great American SmokeoutĀ®: November 21, 2019

Release Date: November 05, 2019

For more than 40 years, the American Cancer Society has hosted the Great American Smokeout, a national event that challenges individuals to learn about the health risks associated with smoking and available resources to aid in quitting, and most importantly, to make or initiate a plan to quit smoking. Join the American Cancer Society in this year's Great American Smokeout on November 21, 2019, and take that first step towards a healthier, smoke- free life.

Although smoking rates in the United States have decreased substantially over the last several decades, worldwide, smoking remains the single largest cause of preventable illness and death. According to the American Cancer Society, smoking causes almost 480,000 deaths, or 1 in 5 deaths, every year.

Smoking Cessation: What's it Worth?

The health benefits of smoking cessation are extensive. Some, like risks of developing certain cancers, occur 5-10 years after quitting, but others kick in as early as 20 minutes after that last cigarette. Read on to learn more about the immediate and long- term health effects of smoking cessation:

  • 20 minutes after quitting, heart rate and blood pressure drop.
  • 12 hours after quitting, carbon monoxide levels in blood return to normal.
  • 2 weeks to 3 months after quitting, circulation improves and lung function increases.
  • 1-9 months after quitting, coughing and shortness of breath decrease, and the lungs are able to more effectively handle mucus and resist infection.
  • 1 year after quitting, the risk of developing a heart attack decreases drastically, and the excess risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a smoker.
  • 5 years after quitting, risk of developing cancers of the mouth, throat, esophagus, and bladder is cut in half. Cervical cancer risk is that of a non- smoker. Stroke risk falls to that of a non-smoker after 2-5 years.
  • 10 years after quitting, risk of dying from lung cancer is half that of a smoker. Risk of cancers of the larynx and pancreas decreases.
  • 15 years after quitting, risk of coronary heart disease is that of a non- smoker.

It is important to remember that it is never too late to quit smoking. Regardless of age or years of smoking, quitting has widespread health benefits and can decrease the risk of developing cancers and other life- threatening illnesses. However, quitting before age 40 reduces the risk of dying from smoking- related illnesses by about 90%.

Trying to Help Someone Quit?

Support of family and friends can be hugely beneficial to a person trying to quit smoking. If you are trying to help a friend or loved one quit smoking, take a look at these recommendations external link from the American Cancer Society. Here are just a few:

  • Respect that the quitter is in charge- it's that person's lifestyle change, not yours.
  • Spend time doing things with the quitter that will keep his or her mind off smoking.
  • Remove items from your home that may remind the quitter of smoking (ash trays, lighters, etc.).
  • Don't offer advice. Just ask how you can help.
  • Celebrate along the way as goals are met!

The American Cancer Society offers valuable tools and resources to aid in smoking cessation. Visit their website to learn more about these and the Great American Smokeout external link, and let November 21, 2019 be your day one!

American Cancer Society, 2019