Be a quitter this November
Every year, the third Thursday of November is designated by the American Cancer Society as ‘The Great American Smokeout.’ The day is used to encourage smokers to quit, even for a day, and embrace a healthier life for themselves and those around them.
Beginning in 1977, the Great American Smokeout became an official event after several years of smaller initiatives around the United States. In 1970, it was as simple as not smoking cigarettes for one day and donating the money to a local high school in Massachusetts. By 1976, the American Cancer Society in California held an event where almost one million smokers quit for the day. It was this success that led to the Smokeout becoming an annual and national event.
Quitting for one day is the first step toward life change and being healthier. The American Cancer Society encourages quitting smoking through various programs and resources.
As the number one cause of preventable death in the United States, more than 480,000 people die each year due to cigarette smoking. That’s approximately 20 percent of all deaths. In fact, smoking kills more each year than drugs, alcohol, firearm incidents, HIV and motor vehicle injuries combined.
Smoking is harmful to almost every organ in the body, and causes strokes, blindness, diabetes, arthritis and coronary heart disease, among many other conditions. Lung cancer is commonly associated with smoking, but other cancers are possible including liver, stomach, colorectal and pancreas.
Even worse, smokers with asbestos exposure are five times more likely to develop lung cancer than those who never smoked.
The decision to smoke is something that affects all those around you. In the last 50 years, 2.5 million non-smoking adults died from breathing secondhand smoke. The smoke itself contains more than 7,000 chemicals, hundreds of which are toxic and almost 70 are carcinogens.
When it comes to smoking, quitters always win. When you give up the habit, years can be added to your life with lowered risk of smoking-related diseases. Make the courageous choice today to improve your health and life and quit!
- American Cancer Society, “The Great American Smokeout,” (2014). [Link]
- CDC, “Smoking & Tobacco Use,” (2014). [Link]
- Wikipedia, “Great American Smokeout,” (2014). [Link]