Some things from the 70’s are still cool. The Eagles, Star Wars, peace signs, and the Great American Smokeout. Yes, you read right. Since the mid-70’s the American Cancer Society and other health organizations have called on smokers to quit for just 24 hours during the Great American Smokeout. This year it's on Thursday, November 21.
Quitting is difficult for many, even for just 24 hours. But in that short timeframe smokers can benefit from lower heart rate and blood pressure as well as a return to normal carbon monoxide levels in the blood stream. Those who stay quit can also benefit over time with:
- Decreased coughing and shortness of breath
- Reduced risk of infection
- Better circulation and lung function
- Lower risk of coronary heart disease, as well as cancers of the mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, lungs and cervix
Read more about the benefits based on time since quitting, based on the US Surgeon General’s Report.
There are numerous resources in Nevada, as well as national programs, to help you quit smoking or to help you support a friend or loved one quit. Below are a few of the great resources available. In addition, talk to your physician or medical provider about other resources available for quitting.
- American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout resources, including desktop and app helpers, a guide to quitting smoking, and a toolkit for workplaces
- Nevada Tobacco Users Helpline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669)
- American Lung Association’s Lung HelpLine at 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872)
- Freedom From Smoking, Not-On-Tobacco and Tips for Parents, all from the American Lung Association
Need more data?
Tobacco remains the single largest preventable cause of death, yet each year smoking kills more people than AIDS, alcohol, drug abuse, car crashes, murders, suicides, and fires combined. Data from the CDC’s 2012 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System shows that more than 18% of Nevadans identified themselves as smokers, just below the national average and a portion of the 43.8 million Americans who still smoke cigarettes. These numbers also don’t take into account the millions of cigar and pipe smokers, as well as those using hookah, snuff, chewing tobacco, and other tobacco products that are similarly dangerous and addictive.
More than just the cost of lives lost, smoking costs money. In Nevada it’s estimated that the smoking attributable cost for adults is $1.4 billion annually including health care costs and related loss of productivity. A recent study revealed that smokers cost their employers almost $6,000 per year more than non-smokers due to lost productivity and healthcare.
Sources: American Cancer Society, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, State of Nevada Comprehensive Cancer Plan 2011 – 2015.