Get ready to lose the habit, and become victorious over tobacco. The American Cancer Society Great American Smokeout, which occurs the third Thursday of every November, is your day to go the distance, and to finally give up smoking.
About 42 million Americans still smoke cigarettes, and tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the United States. As of 2013, there were also 12.4 million cigar smokers in the US, and over 2.3 million who smoke tobacco in pipes — other dangerous and addictive forms of tobacco.
By quitting — even for one day — you will be taking an important step toward a healthier life — one that can lead to reducing your cancer risk. It’s a race for your health, and it starts today. Today’s the day that quitters win.
The Benefits of Quitting
- Quitting smoking has major and immediate health benefits for men and women of all ages. These benefits apply to people who already have smoking-related diseases and those who don’t.
Ex-smokers live longer than people who keep smoking.
Quitting smoking lowers the risk of lung cancer, other cancers, heart attack, stroke, and chronic lung disease.
Women who stop smoking before pregnancy or during the first 3 to 4 months of pregnancy reduce their risk of having a low birth-weight baby to that of women who never smoked.
The health benefits of quitting smoking are far greater than any risks from the small weight gain (usually less than 10 pounds) or any emotional or psychological problems that may follow quitting.
Methods of Quitting Smoking
Nicotine replacement therapy. Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) gives you nicotine – in the form of gums, patches, sprays, inhalers, or lozenges – but not the other harmful chemicals in tobacco. NRT can help relieve some of the physical withdrawal symptoms so that you can focus on the psychological (emotional) aspects of quitting. Many studies have shown using NRT can nearly double the chances of quitting with success. Learn more.
Prescription drugs. Prescription drugs, such as Bupropion (brand names are Zyban®, Wellbutrin®, or Aplenzin®) or Varenicline (brand name Chantix®). are also available to help smokers quit. Some can be used along with nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), and some must be started before your planned Quit Day. Talk to your doctor if you want to use medicine to help you quit smoking. You will need a prescription for any of these drugs. Learn more.
Other Non-Nicotine Methods. If you want to give it a go without nicotine replacement drugs, or as to accompany these therapies, other methods you can try include hypnosis, acupuncture, magent therapy, low-level laser therapy, filters, smoking deterrents, herbs and supplements and mind-body practices. Learn more.
(Source: American Cancer Society, http://www.cancer.org/healthy/stayawayfromtobacco/index)