The Great American Smokeout an Opportunity for Smokers to Quit
> 11/14/2007 11:33:19 AM

Want to quit smoking but feel overwhelmed at the prospect? For some smokers, the American Cancer Society's Great American Smokeout is the first step toward quitting successfully. The Smokeout, which celebrates its 31st anniversary tomorrow, challenges smokers to quit for one day. It also encourages smokers to learn about why quitting is so difficult and about the effective treatments that can make quitting easier. If smokers discover that they can quit for one day, they will hopefully utilize smoking cessation treatments in an effort to quit for life.

The American Cancer Society website provides an abundance of helpful resources for anyone trying to quit smoking, including information on various treatments for those trying to quit. Included among these treatments is the American Cancer Society's clinically-proven Quitline, a telephone-based counseling program. The Quitline has provided free support to over 280,000 smokers who have called since the program's initiation in 2000, and its success rates have been high. 40% of callers contacted 6 months after their initial call reported being smoke-free. The website also provides downloadable resources to help smokers in the midst of quitting, including the Countdown Clock, a calendar with helpful quitting tips for each day, and the Craving Stopper, a memory game that provides distraction from cravings, which generally stop within two minutes. If you worry about the cost of addiction, there are calculators to add up the number of cigarettes you smoke and demonstrate the total price of these cigarettes. Smoking a pack a day for a year totals 7,305 cigarettes and carries a price tag of around $1,825, depending on where you live.

For those who doubt that quitting will have a significant impact on their health, the website provides a wealth of information on the benefits of quitting. Smoking cessation has immediate and long-lasting health benefits, even for life-long smokers, and the body begins to heal itself minutes after the final cigarette. 20 minutes after the final cigarette, a former smoker's blood pressure and heart rate will have dropped. A year later, the former smoker's risk of heart disease will be half that of a smokerís, and after 15 years, that risk will be the same as a nonsmoker's risk. Quitting benefits others as well. According to the American Cancer Society, somewhere between 35,000 and 40,000 nonsmokers die from heart disease every year due to secondhand smoke.

An estimated 45 million American adults smoke, and smoking is the most preventable cause of death in America today. Thankfully, the Great American Smokeout provides smokers with the information and the drive they will need to quit successfully. Smokers who are motivated to quit and who have support throughout their attempt are most likely to succeed, and with the resources the American Cancer Society has provided, many smokers will quit for the day and then quit for life.

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