Kick the habit: Take part in the Great American Smokeout

You know smoking is bad for your health. You want to quit, but you just can’t seem to get it done. This year, maybe it’s time you join other smokers with the same goal, and take part in the American Cancer Society’s (ACS) Great American Smokeout.

The Great American Smokeout takes place annually on the third Thursday in November. The event challenges people to smoke less or to quit for at least one day. It also raises awareness of the many effective ways to quit smoking for good.

Benefits of quitting
No matter how old you are, quitting smoking will improve your health. When you quit, you:

  • Decrease your chances of having a heart attack or stroke.
  • Reduce your risk of lung and other types of cancer.
  • Improve your circulation and lung function.
  • Lower your blood pressure.

Make a quit plan
Quitting smoking by yourself can be difficult. According to the ACS, it’s easier to quit if you have a good plan for doing so and have the support of family and friends.

First, you must select a date to quit. Choose the date of the Great American Smokeout, or pick another date not too far down the road. Circle it on your calendar, and make a strong commitment to quit on that day. The ACS also advises that you:

  • Tell family and friends about your quit date.
  • Stock up on oral substitutes, such as sugarless gum and carrot sticks.
  • Decide on a method to help you quit. You may want to use nicotine replacement products or sign up for a support group. Several types of nicotine replacement patches, gum, and lozenges are available to purchase over-the-counter, while other methods are available with a doctor’s prescription.
  • Get rid of all cigarettes, lighters, ashtrays, and other smoking-related items.
  • Stay physically active. Exercise can help you fight cigarette cravings.

And last, but not least, stand in front of a mirror and practice saying, “No thank you. I don’t smoke.”