Today is the Great American Smokeout

November 15, 2012

Today’s a great day to be a quitter.

The American Cancer Society leads the 37th annual Great American Smokeout — a day for smokers to quit and for those who love them to provide help and support.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 43.8 million Americans still smoke. About 70 percent of smokers want to quit, and more than half of them try to stop each year.

For those trying to quit, help is available right now by calling 1-800-QUIT-NOW or visiting

According to the CDC, the health benefits of quitting smoking start almost immediately:

  • 20 minutes after quitting:
    Your heart rate drops.

  • 12 hours after quitting:
    The carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal.

  • 2 weeks to 3 months after quitting:
    Your heart attack risk begins to drop and your lung function begins to improve.

  • 3 weeks after quitting:
    Your physical symptoms of nicotine addiction end.

  • 1 to 9 months after quitting:
    Your coughing and shortness of breath decrease.

  • 1 year after quitting:
    Your risk for heart attack drops sharply.

  • 2 to 5 years after quitting:
    Your chance for stroke could fall to about the same as a nonsmoker’s.

  • Within 5 years of quitting:
    Your chance for cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, and bladder is cut in half.

  • 10 years after quitting:
    Your risk of dying from lung cancer drops by half.

For pregnant women who smoke, quitting smoking also improves maternal and child health.  According to the CDC, “smoking during pregnancy increases the risk of pregnancy complications, premature delivery, low birth weight infants, stillbirth and sudden infant death syndrome. Also, the lungs of babies and children who breathe secondhand smoke don’t work as well as well as those who are not exposed to smoke. Quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do for the health of your baby.”

Tobacco use is the number one cause of preventable death in the United States and around the world. Today’s a great day to declare freedom from this killer.