Today is the Great American Smokeout

Today the American Cancer Society marks the 34th Great American Smokeout by encouraging smokers to use the date to make a plan to quit, or to plan in advance and quit smoking that day. By doing so, smokers will be taking an important step towards a healthier life—one that can lead to reducing cancer risk and creating more birthdays.

Researchers say that quitting smoking can increase life expectancy—smokers who quit at age 35 gain an average of eight years of life expectancy; those who quit at age 55 gain about five years; and even long-term smokers who quit at 65 gain three years.

Smokers who want to quit can call the American Cancer Society Quit For Life® Program operated and managed by Free & Clear® at 1-800-227-2345 for tobacco cessation and coaching services that can help increase their chances of quitting for good. The Michigan Department of Community Health also offers free or low-cost help for smoking cessation medication. The Michigan Tobacco Quitline offers free telephone coaching to help quit smoking, and callers without insurance may qualify for free nicotine patches. Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669).

Research shows that people who stop smoking before age 50 can cut their risk of dying in the next 15 years in half compared with those who continue to smoke. Smokers who quit also reduce their risk of lung cancer—10 years after quitting, the lung cancer death rate is about half that of a continuing smoker’s. Some of the health effects of quitting are almost instant, too—heart rate and blood pressure drop 20 minutes after quitting.

Important facts about tobacco use:

  • Tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the U.S.
  • Cigarette smoking accounts for about 443,000 premature deaths – including 49,400 in nonsmokers
  • Thirty percent of cancer deaths, including 87% of lung cancer deaths, can be attributed to tobacco
  • Smoking also accounts for $193 billion in health care expenditures and productivity losses

Michigan Primary Care Association is in the final stage of a HRSA grant supporting the integration of tobacco treatment into Michigan Community Health Centers. Outstanding trainers guided by a steering committee developed a curriculum designed specifically for Community Health Centers following the high standards set by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Click here to access the free web-based training opportunities for health care professionals.

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