The American Cancer Society marks the Great American Smokeout on the third Thursday of November each year by encouraging smokers to use the date to make a plan to quit, or to plan in advance and quit smoking that day.
By doing so, smokers will be taking an important step towards a healthier life - one that can lead to reducing cancer risk. This year's Great American Smokeout will be held on Thursday, Nov. 21, announced Kelly Rumpf, Health Educator for the Dickinson-Iron District Health Department.
Tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in Michigan, killing more than 14,500 residents each year, yet many Michiganders still use tobacco.
About 23 percent of Michigan adults say they smoke cigarettes on a regular basis, and 14 percent of Michigan youth smoke cigarettes, Rumpf said.
However, more than half of these tobacco users have tried to quit for at least one day during the past year. Because tobacco products are highly addictive, most users make several quit attempts before they are successful.
"The Great American Smokeout is an opportunity to remind tobacco users that there are resources available to help them quit, and to support tobacco users in their efforts to quit," said Rumpf. "Quitting tobacco use is the best thing you can do for your health. Within minutes to hours after quitting blood pressure, heart rate, and carbon monoxide levels decrease, and the long term benefits continue over time including improved lung function and decreased risk of cancer and heart disease."
Research shows that while quitting is difficult for most tobacco users, people who use tobacco can increase their success in quitting with help. Quitters are most successful when using a combination of therapies, including resources such as nicotine replacement, counseling, self-help materials, and a strong support network of family and friends, Rumpf said.
Resources available to Michigan residents include:
- The Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) Tobacco Quitline, 1-800-784-8669, continues to provide free telephone coaching for the uninsured and those with Medicaid and Medicare, and free nicotine replacement medications for those who qualify. Information on quitting smoking and a free printable Michigan Smoker's Quit Kit are available through MDCH by visiting: www.michigan.gov/tobacco.
- BecomeAnEX.org is a free, interactive website that shows smokers how to re-learn life without cigarettes. The site, developed by Legacy in partnership with Mayo Clinic, offers a free, personalized quit plan and an online support community to help people prepare to quit and stay quit.
- Dickinson County Healthcare System offers a smoking cessation class. Fifteen participants are needed to hold a class. Cost is $30. Call 776-5532 to learn more.
- The American Cancer Society has tools available to help with quitting. For more information contact the American Cancer Society at 1-800-227-2345. Information is also available on the American Cancer Society's website at www.cancer.org.
The American Cancer Society's mission is to fight all cancers, including lung cancer. Anyone can get lung cancer. Smoking raises the risk, but people who have never smoked or quit years ago can get it, too.
Smoking accounts for about 80 percent of lung cancer deaths, however lung cancer among people who never smoked still rank in the top 10 causes of cancer death in the United States. That is why the American Cancer Society addresses many different aspects of lung cancer in addition to tobacco, including promising research, information for cancer patients and psychosocial factors like the stigma lung cancer patients feel, said Diane Geis Hapka of the Midwest Division of the American Cancer Society in Waukesha, Wis.
The American Cancer Society invests in lung cancer research and that research has contributed to the development of some of the most important treatments for lung cancer available today. They fund the most promising and innovative research projects, regardless of cancer type.
Today the American Cancer Society is supporting 129 research grants totaling $31.6 million specific to lung cancer and another 245 grants totaling nearly $88 million that have the potential to impact all cancers.
The American Cancer Society confirmed the smoking/ling cancer link in the 1950s. Since then, they have helped more than a million people quit.
The society and its advocacy affiliate, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), have worked tirelessly to educate consumers on the dangers of smoking, provide support to those who want to kick the habit, and mobilize communities, in the United States and globally, to implement public policies that save lives.
Not everything the American Cancer Society does is fund-raising but everything they do depends on it. To volunteer or participate in an event in your community, contact Hapka at 715-277-4392 or at Diane.Hapka@cancer.org.
For support or services 24-hours a day, contact 800-ACS-2345 or www.cancer.org.