Now that South Dakota is a smoke-free state, the American Cancer Society encouraged smokers to use Thursday, Nov. 18, the date of its 35th annual Great American Smokeout, as the day to quit smoking for good.
"According to the American Cancer Society, smokers who quit can expect to live as many as 10 years longer than those who continue to smoke," said Denise Kolba, American Cancer Society. "Smokers who quit reduce their risk of lung cancer, as well as other major diseases like heart disease and stroke."
Smoking remains the world's most preventable cause of death. Each year smoking results in over 440,000 premature deaths. Yet 36 million Americans still smoke daily.
"I hate smoking," said Mayor Mike Huether, Sioux Falls, whose father was a lifetime smoker. "It killed my dad and it kills so many other people. I remember taking my dad to the Emergency Room , finding out he had cancer, the look on his face … Ten days after he was diagnosed, I remember the doctor telling my dad he had one year to live. But he died the very next day. He was 62 years old, charismatic, and I tell you, I miss him today. I want to make sure that people hear my dad's story because if I can reach just one person and get them to stop smoking, I'm going to do it."
Quitting smoking can be tough. But the American Cancer Society understands that and has developed tools and resources that can help a person quit successfully.
Smokers who want to quit can call the American Cancer Society at 1.800.227.2345 for tobacco cessation and coaching services that can help increase their chances of quitting. The Society also has a variety of online tools at www.cancer.org/Smokeout – such as a downloadable "crave button" to help fight cravings, a "quit clock" to countdown to the quit day, and an e-card that can be sent to friends and family letting them know you plan to quit, as a way to enlist more support.
The American Cancer Society started Great American Smokeout in 1976, as a way to encourage and inspire smokers to quit for a day, in the hope that they could quit for a lifetime. For more information, call the American Cancer Society at 1.800.227.2345.
Facts on Smoking
• Smoking remains the world's most preventable cause of death.
• Smoking accounts for over 400,000 premature deaths – including about 50,000 in nonsmokers
• Thirty percent of cancer deaths, including 87 percent of lung cancer deaths, can be attributed to smoking
• Smoking accounts for over $193 billion in health care expenditures and productivity losses every year.