The American Cancer Association will be holding their annual Great American Smokeout on Thursday, November 19th, 2015. The event was created in 1970 in order to help individuals quit smoking, and to raise awareness of tobacco’s harmful effects. Since then, the event has been increasingly successful in not only generating awareness about the implications of tobacco use, but also at creating smoke free laws and decreasing tobacco promotions. The Smokeout encourages people who use tobacco products to cease usage for an entire 24 hours, and to make a plan to quit using tobacco products for good.
Smoking causes numerous health implications. It not only increases the individual’s risk for lung cancer, but also for colon, bladder, liver, and kidney cancer to name a few. Smoking harms almost every organ in the body and doubles the chance of death from a heart attack. With almost 1 in 5 adults smoking, it is the leading cause of preventable disease and premature death in the U.S. Not only does smoking impact the individual, it also affects surrounding people– there are 50,000 people who loose their lives to second hand smoke every year.
Quitting smoking can be as beneficial as it is harmful. Just minutes after quitting, blood pressure and heart rate begin to decrease, helping to improve cardiac function. Circulation begins to improve after months of not smoking, and by the time the individual has been smoke-free for 5 years, their risk for several types of cancer has been cut in half.
Individuals who smoke or use other tobacco products are encouraged to visit the American Lung Association website, which offers a program called Freedom From Smoking– online or group meetings are offered in order to meet all needs. Free information on how to quit smoking is also available via the American Cancer Association at 1-800-227-2345.