The Great American Smokeout

Think that lung cancer is the leading smoking-related cause of death in the United States? Think again. Although lung cancer is first to come to mind for many Americans, cardiovascular disease actually claims more lives of smokers 35 years of age and older every year than lung cancer.

In addition, the latest report on smoking from the Surgeon General declared that smoking is a cause of type 2 diabetes—a major risk factor for heart diseaseIn fact, the risk of developing diabetes is 30–40% higher for active smokers than nonsmokers.1

Quit Smoking in November

Dubbed the "Great American Smokeout," on the third Thursday of November every year Americans are encouraged to quit smoking or make a plan to quit smoking.

Benefits of Quitting: Just a Matter of Time

Consider these astounding facts about how your body recovers after quitting smoking. After quitting for:

  • 20 minutes: Your heart and blood pressure drop.3
  • 12 hours: The carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal.3
  • 2 weeks to 3 months: Your circulation improves and your lung function increases.3
  • 1 to 9 months: Coughing and shortness of breath decrease; cilia start to regain normal function in the lungs, increasing the ability to handle mucus, clean the lungs, and reduce the risk of infection.3
  • 1 year: The excess risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a continuing smoker's.3
  • 5 years: Risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, and bladder are cut in half. Cervical cancer risk falls to that of a non-smoker. Stroke risk can fall to that of a non-smoker after 2-5 years.3
  • 10 years: The risk of dying from lung cancer is about half that of a person who is still smoking. The risk of cancer of the larynx (voice box) and pancreas decreases.3
  • 15 years: The risk of coronary heart disease is that of a non-smoker's.3

Quitting is Hard—Get Support!

Research has shown that smokers are most successful in kicking the habit when they have support. Using two or more of the following measures works better than any one of them alone.2 Decide which one is best for you, and commit to quit this November!

Support methods for quitting include:

  • Smoking-cessation hotlines
  • Stop-smoking groups
  • Online quit groups
  • Counseling
  • Nicotine replacement products
  • Prescription medicine to lessen cravings
  • Guide books
  • Encouragement and support from friends and family members2

Get tips for quitting smoking from the American Heart Association. Visit heart.org now

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