Thursday, November 19, 2009

Quit Today - The Great American Smokeout

Today, November 19, is the Great American Smokeout. Being a former smoker myself, I urge all of you that smoke to make today the day of your last cigarette.

Here's more information from the American Cancer Society:

All About The Great American Smokeout

Every year, on the third Thursday of November, smokers across the nation take part in the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout® by smoking less or quitting for the day on the third Thursday of November. The event challenges people to stop using tobacco and helps make people aware of the many tools they can use to quit for good.

In many towns and communities, local volunteers support quitters, publicize the event, and press for laws that control tobacco use and discourage teenagers from starting.

Research shows that smokers are most successful in kicking the habit when they have some means of support, such as:
* nicotine replacement products
* counseling
* stop-smoking groups
* telephone smoking cessation hotlines
* prescription medicine to lessen cravings
* guide books
* encouragement and support from friends and family members

Using 2 or more of these measures to help you quit works better than using any one of them alone. For example, some people use a prescription medicine along with nicotine replacement. Other people may use as many as 3 or 4 of the other measures listed above.

Telephone stop smoking hotlines are an easy-to-use resource. And as of 2008, they are available in all 50 states. Call 1-800-ACS-2345 (1-800-227-2345) to find telephone counseling or other support in your area.

Support is out there, but the most recent information suggests that fewer than 1 in 4 smokers reports having tried any of the recommended therapies during his or her last quit attempt.

How the Great American Smokeout began
The Smokeout has helped bring about dramatic changes in Americans' attitudes about smoking. These changes have led to community programs and smoke-free laws that are now saving lives in many states. Annual Smokeouts began in the 1970s when smoking and secondhand smoke were commonplace.

The idea for the Great American Smokeout grew out of a 1974 event. Lynn R. Smith, editor of the Moticello Times in Minnesota, spearheaded the state's first D-Day, or Don't Smoke Day. The idea may have been inspired by Arthur P. Mullaney of Randolph, Massachusetts. Three years earlier, Mullaney asked people to give up cigarettes for a day and donate the money they would have spent on cigarettes to a high school scholarship fund.

The idea caught on, and on November 18, 1976, the California Division of the American Cancer Society successfully got nearly 1 million smokers to quit for the day. That California event marked the first Smokeout, and the Society took it nationwide in 1977.

The Great American Smokeout fuels new laws and saves lives
Each year, the Great American Smokeout also draws attention to the deaths and chronic diseases caused by smoking. Throughout the late 1980s and 1990s, many state and local governments responded by banning smoking in workplaces and restaurants, raising taxes on cigarettes, limiting cigarette promotions, discouraging teen cigarette use, and taking further actions to counter smoking.

Those states with strong tobacco control laws are now reaping the fruits of their labor. They have markedly lower smoking rates and fewer people dying of lung cancer, according to a 2003 report in Cancer Causes and Control. The study found that lung cancer death rates among adults age 30-39 were lower and falling in most states that had strong anti-tobacco programs. In states with weak tobacco control, lung cancer rates were higher and climbing. Another study published in 2008 showed this trend between tobacco control and lung cancer continues.

Today, about 43 million US adults smoke. Tobacco use can cause lung cancer, as well as other cancers, heart disease, and lung disease. Smoking is responsible for nearly 1 in 3 cancer deaths, and 1 in 5 deaths from all causes. Another 8.6 million people are living with serious illnesses caused by smoking.

Fortunately, the past few decades have seen great strides in changing attitudes about smoking, in understanding the addiction, and in learning how to help people quit.

No comments: