2011 marks the American Cancer Society’s 36th year with the Great American Smokeout, a day on which smokers are encouraged to quit smoking, or make a plan to quit smoking. In its inaugural year in 1975, approximately 1 million people gave up cigarettes for the day.
There are many reasons that people begin smoking, in spite of the well known health risks: peer pressure, anxiety, family attitudes which condone smoking, and weight loss, are just a few.
Some alarming statistics and concerns about cigarette smoking:
It is estimated that 46 million U.S. adults currently smoke, and of those, approximately half will die prematurely as a result of smoking.
A 2004 Study by the CDC’s National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion reported that cigarette smoke contains over 4,800 chemicals, 69 of which are known to cause cancer.
Smoking-related diseases are estimated to cause 440,000 American deaths each year. Lung cancer ranks as the leading cause of cancer deaths, and over 80% of lung cancers are believed to result from smoking.
More than 90 percent of adult smokers started when they were teens.
Almost all first tobacco use occurs before high school graduation, typically by age 16.
Each day 3,000 children smoke their first cigarette. Of those, nearly 1,000 will eventually die as a result of smoking.
Today, somewhere between 3 million and 6 million teens are smokers, despite knowing that it is addictive and leads to disease and death.
Adolescent girls who smoke and take oral birth control pills significantly increase their risk for having blood clots and strokes.
Tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the U.S.
Yes, quitting is hard – nicotine is highly addictive, but you will definitely increase your chances of success by trying. Some people try quitting as many as seven times before they are successful, so don’t give up! You can conquer the addiction!
For tips and resources on quitting smoking, contact the American Cancer Society at 800-227-2345, or visit their website.
Join millions of other smokers on the Great American Smokeout day who will be taking an important step towards a healthier life – one that can lead to reducing cancer risk and increasing the number of birthdays you get to celebrate!