The American Cancer Society (ACS) reports smoking remains the single largest preventable cause of death and illness in the world with more than 34 million Americans smoking cigarettes. For over 40 years, the third Thursday in November has been recognized as the Great American Smokeout. The day marks an opportunity for thousands of individuals to take an important step toward a healthier life and reduce cancer risk by making a commitment to be smoke-free.
Quitting is difficult yet the benefits are immediate. You’ll notice food tastes better; your sense of smell returns to normal; your lung function increases; your heart rate and blood pressure drop; and your circulation improves.
If you missed the Great American Smokeout, there is no need to wait until November 2019 to jump onboard, there are plenty of resources available to help you quit successfully. Participating in counseling, creating a support network, utilizing medication and taking advantage of other assistance such as quitlines, self-help books and Nicotine Anonymous meetings may double, or even triple, your chances of saying goodbye to smoking for good.
The ACS can help and are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to provide support. To find out more, visit cancer.org/smokeout or call 1-800-227-2345.
If you’re supporting a loved one in their effort to quit smoking, ask how you can best help. Whether it is offering to engage in activities to keep their mind off smoking, having candies or other foods available as distractions or there to provide words of encouragement – your role is incredibly valuable. Just remember, needs will change and it’s important to have a broader focus than just whether they’ve stayed quit. The journey to smoke-free may take time.
What have your experiences been with striving to be smoke-free? What has helped you most?
Meet others sharing about trying to quit smoking while undergoing medical treatment or talking about cancers in one of the many cancer groups on Mayo Clinic Connect, Share experiences, ask questions and find support from people like you.
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