November 19th is The Great American Smokeout the American Cancer Society event to encourage smokers to triumph over addiction and finally stop smoking. According to the American Cancer Society, 42 million American still smoke cigarettes as well as tobacco and use remains the largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the United States. 

Quitting for even one day is a step toward a healthier life, which can reduce cancer risk. In 1990, the Surgeon General determined there are major and immediate health benefits for those who quit smoking. The benefits to smokers who quit after:

  • 20 minutes- heart rate and blood pressure drop.
  • 12 hours- carbon monoxide level in blood drops to normal.
  • 2 weeks- circulation improves and lung function increases.
  • 1-9 months- coughing and shortness of breath decreases.
  • 1 year- risk of coronary heart disease is half of a smoker's.
  • 5 years- risk of cancer in mouth, throat, esophagus and bladder are cut in half.
In addition, those who stop smoking before the age of 50 cut their risk of dying in the next 15 years in half compared to those who keep smoking. Former smokers enjoy a higher quality of life with fewer illnesses from colds to the flu, lower rates of bronchitis and pneumonia and overall feel healthier. 

Quitting can be difficult, but the chances of victory over smoking can only increase with help. For more information about quitting, visit the American Cancer Society website.

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