Say no to tobacco use this Great American Smokeout

Post Date:11/12/2018 9:03 AM

Quitting smoking improves your health immediately, and over the long term, at any age. But, it’s not easy. It takes hard work, time and a plan.

Nov. 15 marks the Great American Smokeout, an annual effort to encourage the nearly 38 million adults in the United States who smoke cigarettes to quit.

“If you’re a smoker or tobacco user, setting a date to quit is important. It’s that first step in protecting your health,” said Kathy Barroso, Galveston County Health District Chief Executive Officer. “Remember, you don’t have to stop smoking all in one day. But, taking that first step to make a positive change is vitally important to putting down tobacco for good.”

Smoking remains the single largest preventable cause of death and illness in the world, according to the American Cancer Society, which sponsors the Great American Smokeout.

Smoking causes more than 480,000 deaths every year and more than 16 million Americans live with a smoking-related disease. Quitting smoking is an important step toward feeling better and creating a healthier life. A good plan can help smokers get past the symptoms of withdrawal.

Set a date

Choose the Great American Smokeout or another quit day within the next two weeks.

Tell your family and friends about your quit plan

Share your quit date with the important people in your life and ask for support. A daily phone call, e-mail or text message can help you stay on course and provide moral support.

Be prepared for challenges

The urge to smoke is short – usually only three-five minutes – but those moments can feel intense.

Even one puff can feed a craving and make it stronger. Before your quit day, write down healthy ways to cope. Drink water, exercise, listen to music or call a friend.

Remove cigarettes and other tobacco

Remove these items from your home, car and workplace. Throw away cigarettes, matches, lighters and ashtrays.

Clean and freshen your car, home and workplace. Old cigarette odors can cause cravings.

Know your options

Talk to your pharmacist or doctor about quit options. Nicotine patches, gum or other approved quit medication can help with cravings.

Benefits of quitting smoking includes better tasting food, normal sense of smell, teeth and fingernails stop yellowing, not being out of breath from ordinary activities and better smelling breath, hair and clothes.

What happens after you quit?

  • 20 minutes after – Your heart rate and blood pressure drop.
  • 12 hours after – The carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal.
  • Two weeks to three months after – Your circulation improves and your lung function increases.
  • One-nine months after – Coughing and shortness of breath decreases.
  • One year after – The excess risk of coronary heart disease is half that of someone who still smokes. Heart attack risk drops dramatically.
  • Five years after – Your risk of cancers of the mouth, throat, esophagus and bladder is cut in half. Cervical cancer risk falls to that of a non-smoker. Your stroke risk can fall to that of a non-smoker after two-five years.
  • 10 years after – Your risk of dying from lung cancer is about half that of a person who is still smoking. Your risk of cancer of the larynx and pancreas decreases.
  • 15 years – Your risk of coronary heart disease is that of a non-smoker’s.

 For more information about the effects of tobacco use and tips to quit, visit

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