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Great American Smokeout: Make the Pledge, Live Longer, Live Better

Great American Smokeout: Make the Pledge, Live Longer, Live Better

Quit smoking and you’ll not only live longer, but you’ll live better

November 19 is the American Cancer Society’s 34th Great American Smokeout. Smokers are encouraged to use this day to quit smoking altogether, or to finally put that action plan into place. 

Smokers who quit at age 35 gain an average of eight years of of life expectancy; those who quit at age 55 gain approximately five years, and even quitting at 65 will add about three years. 

In the long-term, within five to 15 years after quitting, the risk of stroke is reduced to that of a non-smoker; after 10 years, the death rate from lung cancer is cut to about half that of the person who continues to smoke; and after 15 years, the risk of coronary heart disease is that of a non-smoker’s.

Even if you don’t care about celebrating additional birthdays, the benefits to quitting can result a healthier, more vibrant life. 

Short term effects are immediate. Heart rate and blood pressure drop within 20 minutes after the last cigarette. Between two weeks to three months later, circulation improves and lung function increases. Between one to nine months after quitting, things really begin to change for the better. Coughing and shortness of breath decrease and you begin to feel the benefits of normal lung function — increasing the ability to handle mucus, clean the lungs, and reduce the risk of infection. If you’re a long-term smoker, you probably can’t even imagine how good that would feel.

The American Cancer Society wants to help you quit and is offering online resources (Great American Smokeout website) as well as personalized telephone coaching (American Cancer Society Quit for Life ® 1-800-227-2345) by trained specialists. 

One very important component to real health care reform rests with individuals and our responsibility for our own health and well-being. Use of tobacco is the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the United States, responsible for 30 percent of cancer deaths and 87 percent of lung cancer deaths.

The financial consequences of tobacco use are staggering — $193 billion in health care expenditures and loss of productivity. That’s a lot of expense for something completely preventable.

If you smoke around others, it should come as no surprise that secondhand smoke is a huge problem, causing between 35,000 and 40,000 deaths from heart disease every year. 

If you don’t care to celebrate more birthdays, and you don’t care about enjoying a healthier life, then may I appeal to your vanity? Smoking adds years to your age, causing added lines and wrinkles; stains the hands and teeth; all the cologne in the world can’t mask the smell, one which non-smokers generally find quite unpleasant; and let’s face it, it doesn’t make you particularly kissable. 

If you love someone who smokes, ask them to pledge to quit. If you are a smoker, please… for your sake and for the sake of those who love you… join in the Great American Smokeout. Pledge to quit right now. Live longer, live better!

Get my updates on Twitter @AnnPietrangelo

For more on tobacco and smoking:

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Great American Smoke out – Lessons from a Smoking Cessation Class 

Killer Crop: Tobacco Facts to Inspire Quitting for a Healthier World  

Environmentally Friendly Cigarettes?

FDA Regulation of Tobacco will Aid in War against Smoking

Herbs to Help Stop Smoking   l

The Shocking Ingredients in Cigarettes  

10 Little-Known Signs of Lung Cancer




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Photo: American Cancer Society


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18 comments

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2:34AM PDT on Jul 29, 2010

I was a smoker and I had problems quitting. Then I switched to the electronic cigarette, I feel a little better but I'm afraid of the long term health hazards that this solution poses.

11:58AM PST on Dec 26, 2009

Never smoked and never will, fortunately.

10:37AM PST on Nov 28, 2009

My mum started smoking again after quitting. :-(

12:49AM PST on Nov 26, 2009

Although on a personal level, smoking could be interpreted as a matter of free will, but if we look at the larger picture, not only does it affect people with second-smoke, but it also indirectly encourages so many teenagers to ruin their lives too, by your "free will".

Nevertheless and foremost, with the Health Care policies coming up, the state will lose a huge amount of money trying to save people who deliberately and willingly slowly destroys their lives. It is not about the free will to smoke anymore; that money could have been spent to save other lives, and those people should be granted the right to live.

2:28PM PST on Nov 19, 2009

this is a portion of something posted to another thread but might be better in this one:

to anyone wishing to quit "analogs" (tobacco cigs) and either want to quit nicotine altogether or just want to reduce the harm by orders of magnitude, i might suggest Personal Vaporisers, otherwise known as "e-cigs". they vaporise pure pharma-grade nicotine in a suspension of either propolyne glycol or vegetable glycerine, with some food-grade flavour added, and they come in a variety of nic strengths, including zero, as well as a wide variety of both popular tobacco and cigar flavours or yummy ones like cappucino, which i'm vaping right now. they really satisfy, contain no pesticides or other carcinogens (arsenic, carbon monoxide etc), and best of all no second hand smoke - the vapour evaporates immediately, and since nothing's burned there's no particulate matter.

and they're not made by "Big Tobacco", for the anti-corporate types.

of course the FDA is looking into banning them as well, driving us all back to the dreaded analogs, but that's bureaucracy for ya.

here's a link to a forum explaining and discussing all about them: http://www.e-cigarette-forum.com/forum/

they're also perfectly legal to use in places where smoking is prohibited, provided the property owner permits it. but smoking laws don't apply to them as nothing is burned and there's no tobacco involved.

just a thought..

8:59AM PST on Nov 19, 2009

I smoke alone and I enjoy it. I'm not hurting anyone but perhaps myself. As long as I'm living in a free country it's my choice. I'll quit smoking when drinker's quit drinking!

5:13AM PST on Nov 19, 2009

I kicked the tobacco habit 20 years ago today (November 19th, 1989), thanks to a 12-week smoking cessation class offered by the Great American Smokeout. I had my first cigarette at age 11 and my last at age 30. Sure it was hard to quit (I had tried countless times before), and yes I am still tempted to smoke sometimes -- but given my family history of smoking and related cancers, emphysema, COPD and heart disease, quitting smoking is the best thing I ever did for myself. At age 50, my lungs have fully repaired themselves, and I look and feel terrific! Best of all, I don't smell like the bottom of an ashtray. Hats off to all the "quitters" who have posted here - let's hope our success will help others get the nicotine monkey off their backs!

4:57AM PST on Nov 19, 2009

Dianne, the Great American Meatout is celebrated each year on March 20th (to correlate with the first day of spring). Farm Animal Reform Movement (FARM) has sponsored Meatout since 1985. For more info, go to http://www.meatout.org/

7:45PM PST on Nov 18, 2009

Second hand smoke is atrocious. Do you smokers ever stop to realize you are responsible for thousands of deaths. It doesn't bother you that you commit slow murder???!

6:38PM PST on Nov 18, 2009

Why are YOU PEOPLE so concerned with STOP SMOKING YET { NO ONE } IS THAT CONCERNED WITH DRINKING AND DRIVING ...THAT KILLS MOE PEOPLE THAN SOMKING,EVERY DAY DRINKING AND DRIVING,RESULTING IN { 1 } OR MORE BEING KILLED,I NEVER HEARD SMOKING AND DRIVING ,SOMEONE BEING KILLED,I'VE HEARD HERE IN MY STATE,SOMEONE HAVING 22 DRUNK/DRIVING CHARGES AND THEY ARE STILL DRIVING.
WHERE IN THE WORLD DID ALL THE COMMON SENSE GO !!

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