The American Cancer Society hosts the Great American Smokeout every year on the third Thursday of November. It started in the 1970s as a way to help smokers quit by having them donate the money they would have spent on cigarettes to a high school scholarship fund. The event has led to more widespread knowledge about the dangers of cigarettes and has drawn attention to preventing chronic diseases and death caused by smoking. Many significant strides in research and policy have come out of the Smokeout, such as state and local governments banning smoking in workplaces and restaurants, raising taxes on cigarettes, and discouraging teen cigarette use.
Even with all the progress in the fight against cigarette smoking, about 1 in 5 adults today still smoke cigarettes. Smoking is estimated to cause 32% of all cancer deaths in the US, including 38% of lung cancer deaths in men and 76% of lung cancer deaths in women. Quitting smoking has both immediate and long-term benefits at any age, but tobacco addiction is both mental and physical, and it can be extremely hard for people to quit. Some smokers quit cold turkey, all at once with no medicines or nicotine replacement. Others may need a gradual withdrawal to slowly reduce the amount of nicotine in their body. However you decide to quit, the following are different tools to help you:
- Telephone smoking-cessation hotlines
- Stop-smoking groups
- Online quit groups
- Nicotine replacement products
- Prescription medicine to lessen cravings
- Guide books
- Encouragement and support from friends and family
Using 2 or more of these measures works better than using one alone. For more information on quitting smoking, or to find support in your area, visit https://www.cancer.org/healthy/stay-away-from-tobacco/great-american-smokeout.html or call 1-800-227-2345.