Time to Quit!

‘Great American Smokeout’ is Important Step Toward a Healthier Life

Many people know about the negative impact smoking may have on their health.

A lot of people decide they want to quit smoking.

But quitting smoking is difficult even for those with the best of intentions. Snuffing out that last cigarette is the goal, but to reach the goal takes time and a solid plan.

No one expects you to stop in one day. But the Great American Smokeout event on November 15 provides an opportunity for you to start with Day 1.

For more than 40 years the American Cancer Society has hosted the Great American Smokeout on the third Thursday of November. The Smokeout provides an opportunity for smokers to commit to healthy, smoke-free lives – not just for one day but year-round.

Individuals, community groups, businesses, health care providers and others use the Great American Smokeout as a chance to encourage people to use this special day to make a plan to quit. Others plan in advance to initiate a smoking cessation plan on the Great American Smokeout.


Need a reason?

  • Nearly 38 million Americans still smoke cigarettes and smoking remains the single largest preventable cause of death and illness in the world.
  • Smoking causes more than 480,000 deaths every year, or about 1 in 5 deaths.
  • More than 16 million Americans live with a smoking-related disease.
  • While the cigarette smoking rate has dropped from 42 percent in 1965 to less than 15.5 percent in 2016, some groups of Americans suffer disproportionately from smoking-related cancer and other diseases, including those who have less education, who live below the poverty level, or who suffer from serious psychological distress, as well as certain racial and ethnic groups, and lesbians, gays and bisexuals.


The benefits of quitting smoking

  • Within 20 minutes after quitting your heart rate and blood pressure drop.
  • 12 hours after quitting the carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal.
  • 2 weeks to 3 months after quitting your circulation improves and your lung function increases.
  • 1 to 9 months after quitting coughing and shortness of breath decrease. Tiny hair-like structures that move mucus out of the lungs start to regain normal function in your lungs, increasing their ability to handle mucus, clean the lungs and reduce the risk of infection.
  • 1 year after quitting the excess risk of coronary heart disease is half that of someone who still smokes.
  • 5 years after quitting your risk of cancers of the mouth, throat, esophagus and bladder is cut in half. Cervical cancer risk falls to that of a non-smoker. Your stroke risk can fall to that of a non-smoker after 2 to 5 years.
  • 10 years after quitting smoking your risk of dying from lung cancer is about half that of a person who is still smoking. Your risk of cancer of the larynx and pancreas decreases.
  • 15 years after quitting smoking your risk of coronary heart disease is that of a non-smoker.


A Starting Point

The Great American Smokeout could serve as a starting point on a journey toward a smoke-free life. Thousands of smokers across the country will participate in an important step toward a healthier life and reducing the risk of cancer.