According to the American Cancer Society, about 32.4 million American adults still smoke cigarettes, and smoking remains the single largest preventable cause of death and illness in the world. Smoking causes an estimated 480,000 deaths every year, or about 1 in 5 deaths. And more than 16 million Americans live with a smoking-related disease. To help raise awareness, the American Cancer Society hosts The Great American Smokeout on the third Thursday of November (this year on November 18), where it encourages smokers to start the journey to quit smoking.
“Quitting smoking isn’t easy. It takes time. And a plan. You don’t have to stop smoking in one day,” according to the American Cancer Society. “Start with day one. Let the Great American Smokeout event on the third Thursday in November be your day to start your journey toward a smoke-free life. You’ll be joining thousands of people who smoke across the country in taking an important step toward a healthier life and reducing your cancer risk.”
Tips To Quitting Smoking
Courtesy of the American Cancer Society
• If you want to stop smoking, you can make small changes to your lifestyle that may help you resist the temptation to light up.
• Make a plan. You can start by making a simple promise, set a date and stick to it. Sticking to the “not a drag” rule can really help.
• Think positive. You might have tried to quit smoking before and not managed it, but don’t let that put you off. Look back at the things your experience has taught you and think about how you’re really going to do it this time.
• Start nutrition planning. Changing your food consumption can encourage those cravings. Try changing up your diet to more nutritious foods by incorporating more fruits and vegetables, and even cheese, as it’s proven to make cigarettes taste more terrible. Changing your routine at or after mealtimes will also help ease that “after dinner drag.”
• Drink more water. Carbonated drinks, alcohol, cola, tea and coffee all make cigarettes taste better. Get in the habit of filling up a water bottle before you leave the house.
• Identify your cravings. A craving can last five minutes. Before you give up, make a list of five minute strategies. Go for a walk, get your body moving, or get your mind busy on something when those cravings start. Before you know it, that five minutes will pass quickly.
• Keep your hands and mouth busy. Nicotine replacement therapy can double your chances of success. There are also patches, tablets, lozenges, gum and a nasal spray. If you like holding a cigarette, there are handheld products like the inhalator. When you’re out, try putting your drink in the hand that usually holds a cigarette, or drink from a straw to keep your mouth busy.
• Make a list of reasons to quit. Keep reminding yourself why you made the decision to give up.
Get some stop smoking support. The American Cancer Society can help you find quit-smoking programs, resources, and support that can increase your chances of quitting successfully. To learn about the available tools, call them at 1-800-227-2345 or visit cancer.org/healthy/stay-away-from-tobacco/great-american-smokeout.html.