Great American Smokeout is an annual reminder of the dangers of smoking

Published 8:06pm Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Of all the things a person encounters in their daily life that could lead to their death, smoking would easily be on that list.

According to the American Cancer Society, nearly one in every five deaths in the United States annually is a result of smoking, and an estimated 8.6 million people suffer from smoking-related lung and heart disease. And the numbers increase for those smokers who continue to smoke; one out of every two who keep smoking will end up dying from a smoking-related illness.

Pretty good odds.

Thursday marks the 37th annual Great American Smokeout, a program designed to “encourage smokers to use the date to make a plan to quit … and quit smoking that day. By quitting,” the American Cancer Society said, “even for one day, smokers will be taking an important step towards a healthier life.”

There are numerous statistics and facts on the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout website, as well as advice on doing what many past smokers call the hardest thing they’ve every done — quit smoking.

“The key to success in kicking the habit is to create a personal quit plan,” the American Cancer Society said. “You’ll know more about how strongly addicted you are, and can use this information to help you design a detailed plan based on your smoking patterns.”

And, regardless of when you quit, there are benefits.

“No matter how old you are or how long you’ve smoked, quitting can help you live longer and be healthier,” the American Cancer Society said. “People who stop smoking before age 50 cut their risk of dying in the next 15 years in half compared with those who keep smoking. Ex-smokers enjoy a higher quality of life.”

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