Every year, on the third Thursday in November, the Great American Smokeout event gives smokers a reason to quit and move toward a healthier life.
According to the American Cancer Society, about 40 million Americans still smoke cigarettes. Tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the world. And while there are still many people trying to quit, it’s important to note that the percentage of people who smoke has dropped dramatically from 42% of Americans in 1965 to 17% in 2014. We’re moving in the right direction for our health.
How bad are cigarettes? I’ll let you judge. Here are some highlights from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
- Tobacco smoke has at least 70 chemicals that cause cancer, also known as carcinogens.
- Lung and colorectal cancers make up more than half of all cancers linked to tobacco use.
- Secondhand smoke exposure causes about 7,300 lung cancer deaths among nonsmoking adults each year.
- Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of cancer and cancer deaths.
- About 3 in 10 cancer deaths are caused by cigarette smoking. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death for both men and women.
Cutting cigarettes out of your life can be difficult, but there are immediate and long-term benefits of quitting smoking at any age. Your body heals. Your risk of disease decreases. Your risk of getting cancer decreases. Your nonsmoking friends stop avoiding you. You and your clothes smell better! There really isn’t a downside to quitting.
But quitting can be difficult. Nicotine is an addictive drug that doesn’t like to give up its hold on smokers. So that’s the real challenge. If you smoke, talk with your friends and family. Get their support. Monitor your behavior, change your routine, and break the habit. Here are some resources to help you out:
- Take the Stop Smoking Quiz.
- Check out our Quitting Smoking page in our Health Center.
- Not ready to go cold turkey? Try smoking fewer cigarettes.
- Find out how much you really smoke when you track your smoking.
- Information on quit-smoking programs.
- Talk with your doctor about prescription medication, such as bupropion, to help you quit.
WPS also offers a resources page to get you started with smoking cessation. Don’t wait! Quit today!