By Allan Camp

Today is the 37th annual Great American Smokeout, sponsored by the American Cancer Society, an annual event that encourages smokers to make a plan to quit. Quitting smoking has immediate benefits to health at any age, including reduced risk for heart disease and certain cancers. A report on effective clinical treatments for tobacco dependence in 2008 found getting help through counseling or medications can double or triple the chances for quitting. In 2010, a survey found nearly 2-out-of-3 adult smokers said they wanted to quit smoking, and approximately half had made a “quit attempt” for more than one day in the preceding year. Additional information and support for quitting is available online at or by telephone at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669). In addition, real stories of people who have quit successfully can be found on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Tips from Former Smokers website at At its website,, the American Cancer Society offers free tips and tools to help smokers quit, such as a Guide to Quitting Smoking, a Cigarette Cost Calculator, and a list of health benefits smokers will realize after they quit. Here are some of those benefits:

  • 20 minutes after quitting: Your heart rate and blood pressure drop.
  • 12 hours after quitting: The carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal.
  • Two weeks to three months after quitting: Your circulation improves and your lung function increases.
  • One to nine months after quitting: Coughing and shortness of breath decrease.
  • One year after quitting: Risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus and bladder are cut in half. Cervical cancer risk falls to that of a non-smoker.

(Courtesy Dial Global)


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