It’s hard to quit smoking, but smokers can do it, especially with the help of the American Cancer Society. More than 48 million people in the U.S. have quit smoking for good. However, more than 45 million Americans still smoke cigarettes – that’s one in five adults.
Tobacco use remains the single, largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the U.S. Each year, smoking causes the early deaths of about 443,000 Americans. The illnesses caused by smoking can also steal your quality of life– making it harder to breathe, get around, work, or play.
If you are a smoker, mark the 37th annual Great American Smokeout on Thursday, November 15, 2012 by quitting smoking – or making the resolution to quit. For resources and help, call your American Cancer Society at 1-800-227-2345 or go to www.cancer.org.
For example, the American Cancer Society offers a Quit For Life Program operated by Alere Wellbeing, a phone-based coaching and Web-based learning support service to help people quit smoking. Participants are matched with a Quit Coach who helps them develop a personalized quit plan, provides guidance in choosing medicines, and gives ongoing follow-up support. This program has helped more than 1 million tobacco users make a plan to quit for good.
If you’d like to take a quiz or encourage a friend or relative to find out what kind of smoker they are and whether they need help to quit smoking, go to: www.cancer.org/healthy/toolsandcalculators/quizzes/app/smoking-habits-quiz
According to the U.S. Surgeon General, quitting smoking has major and immediate health benefits for men and women of all ages; ex-smokers live longer than people who keep smoking; quitting smoking lowers the risk of lung cancer, other cancer, heart attack, stroke and chronic lung disease and women who stop smoking before pregnancy or during the first trimester reduce their risk of having a low birth-weight baby to that of women who never smoked.
Here are Some Steps to Help You Prepare for Quit Day:
- Pick the date and mark it on your calendar
- Tell family and friends about your quit day
- Get rid of all cigarettes, ashtrays in your home, car, work, etc.
- Stock up on oral substitutes – sugarless gum, hard candy, coffee stirs, straws, toothpicks.
- Decide on a plan. Will you use nicotine replacement therapy or other medicines? Will you take a stop smoking class? If so, sign up now.
- Practice saying, “No thank you, I don’t smoke.”
- Set up a support system, including family, friends and ex-smokers. Ask people you know who still smoke not to smoke around you.
- Think about your past attempts and try to figure out what worked for you and what didn’t.