Quit smoking Thursday

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The American Cancer Society will celebrate its 37th annual Great American Smokeout this Thursday. Tobacco users are encouraged to use the date to make a plan to quit smoking.

"Tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the United States," said Matt Martinek, regional director for health initiatives. "Quitting smoking is the most important thing you can do for your health, and the Great American Smokeout is a great way to start."

More than 45 million Americans smoke cigarettes. An additional 13.2 million people smoke cigars and 2.2 million use tobacco pipes.

According to the American Cancer Society, more than half of smokers have attempted to quit for at least one day in the past year. The Great American Smokeout promotes tools and resources offered to help those individuals quit smoking and reduce their cancer risk.

Some of the American Cancer Society's tools and resources include a guide to quitting, information on the benefits of quitting, computer desktop helpers, a cigarette cost calculator, a quiz and a smoking cessation study.

The Tobacco Atlas, which is published by the American Cancer Society and World Lung Foundation, states that an estimated one billion people worldwide will die during the 21st century because of tobacco use.

Tobacco use accounts for at least 30 percent of all cancer deaths and 80 percent of lung cancer deaths. In the United States, tobacco use is responsible for one in five deaths or about 443,000 premature deaths each year.

Cigarette smoking costs the United States around $97 billion in lost productivity and $96 billion in healthcare expenditures each year. Last year, tobacco use killed almost six million people, and nearly 80 percent of those deaths occurred in low- and middle-income countries.

Around 600,000 deaths can be contributed to secondhand smoke each year.

The American Cancer Society reports that in just 20 minutes after quitting smoking, heart rate and blood pressure drop, and one to nine months after quitting, coughing and shortness of breath decrease.

For more information on the Great American Smokeout or to obtain tips and resources to help quit smoking, call 1-800-227-2345 or visit www.cancer.org/healthy/stayawayfromtobacco/greatamericansmokeout/index.

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