27th Great American Smokeout Thursday Nov. 20 2003
The American Cancer Society is urging millions of smokers across the country to give up their cigarettes for the day and perhaps a lifetime for the 27th American Cancer Society Great American Smokeout®, Thursday Nov. 20. Last year, more than 8.8 million smokers took part by smoking less or not at all. Nearly 2.8 million smokers gave up completely for the day. The American Cancer Society offers the following tips to help smokers get through the day, or any day, without cigarettes.
Smoking urges are worst in the first two weeks. After that they are most likely to recur in situations associated with smoking (e.g., after dinner or in the car).
Urges last a few minutes at most, so practice the four Ds: DEEP breaths. DO something else to get your mind off the craving (call a friend; go for a walk; chew on a carrot stick). DRINK lots of water throughout the day (especially during a craving). DELAY reaching for a cigarette; the urge will pass.
Try to avoid situations that encourage smoking. If you can't, practice telling people you've just quit or that you're a non-smoker.
Change your routines. If you always light up when you have a coffee, drink tea or juice instead. If you always smoked while watching the evening news, read the paper.
Use the many tools available. Nicotine patches and gum are available over-the-counter; a nicotine nasal spray and a smoking-cessation medication are available by prescription; toll-free help lines and even online support are available.
Most smokers have to try several methods before they success in quitting, so keep trying until you find what works for you.
To help encourage smokers to stick with it and get through those urges, its important to note the healthy changes that start happening, some of them quite quickly. Within the first 20 minutes of quitting:
Blood pressure drops
Increased circulation warms your hands and feet
Heart rate goes down
In 8 hours:
Carbon monoxide levels in blood drop to normal
Oxygen levels in blood rise to normal
In 24 hours:
Chance of having a heart attack begins to drop
In 48 hours:
Sense of taste and smell improve
2 weeks to 3 months after quitting:
Lung function increases as much as 30 percent
1 to 9 months after quitting:
Coughing, fatigue, sinus congestion and shortness of breath decrease
Cilia regain normal function in lungs, reducing infection
1 year after quitting:
Excess risk of heart attack and death from heart disease is cut in half
5 to 15 years after quitting:
Risk of stroke is reduced to that of a non-smoker
15 years after quitting:
Risk of death is nearly that of people who've never smoked
Other benefits of quitting
Your clothes won't smell like smoke
You'll save a lot of money. A pack a day smoker who spends $2.00 a pack will save about $700 per year, not counting health costs
Smokers who quit by age 50 have cut their risk of death compared to continuing smokers in half
For more information, or to contact American Cancer Society, see their website at: www.cancer.org