The Great American Smokeout is this Thursday, November 19, a day when people who smoke and vape are encouraged to quit for a day and hopefully a lifetime. Here is a sobering statement from the Centers for Disease Control,  "Tobacco use is the single most preventable cause of disease, disability, and death in the United States." Cigarette smoking is responsible for more than 480,000 deaths per year, which is 1300 deaths per day in the United States. On average, smokers die 10 years earlier than nonsmokers. If that‘s not enough of a reason to quit, smoking cigarettes increases the risk of severe complications to respiratory illnesses such as COVID-19, which is on the rise.

The good news is that the number of smokers has declined in our country from 42% in 1965 to around 13% today. However more people, especially teens,  are vaping,  thinking it is a healthy alternative to smoking. It’s not.  The chemicals in e-cigarettes and vaping devices are very harmful and most contain nicotine, a highly addictive substance. The generation that was supposed to end smoking now has 1 in 5 high school kids vaping.  In addition, people who smoke or vape touch their faces more often which increases their risk of coronavirus or other infections. 

There are so many benefits to quitting smoking. After you put down that last cigarette you will immediately notice the changes.  Within 20 minutes your blood pressure will reduce. Over the next couple of weeks, your circulation and your lung function will improve.  After a few months, you will notice a decrease in the amount of coughing you do.  Your lungs will better be able to remove mucus from your body.  After about one year,  your risk of a heart attack from smoking is almost half of someone who smokes.  Even over the next 15 years, your body will begin to see improvements while it repairs itself.

 

The Great American Smokeout is the perfect time to quit smoking or vaping. It is the single most important step toward better health you could make.  There are many programs and tools that can help.  Here are just a few.

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    New Jersey Quitline

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    American Cancer Society

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    American Lung Association