Great American Smokeout Nov. 21

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 Illustration by Alexandra Nelipa

Illustration by Alexandra Nelipa

The benefits of quitting begin 20 minutes after the last cigarette.

By Paula Christine Schuler

The Great American Smokeout is sponsored and encouraged by the American Cancer Society on the third Thursday of November annually.

Media spokespersons from the local office were unavailable for comment.

The society encour-ages smokers to use the date to quit smoking, even if for just a single day.

They maintain disease attributable to tobacco smoking is the group of preventable disease and premature death and half of those who do not quit smoking will die of diseases caused by smoking. According to the American Cancer Society, smoking tobacco is the No. 1 cause of cancer.

It also causes aneurisms, stroke, heart disease, bronchitis and emphysema and is implicated in gum disease, cataracts, bone thinning and fractures.

Another benefit is financial.

According to, a smoker who spends $5 on a pack of cigarettes per day will save about $152.08 per month and $1,826.25 a year.

To find support groups or support with quitting tobacco, call the American Cancer Society at 1-800-227-2345.

For more information about the Great American Smokeout, visit smokeout

After quitting tobacco

20 minutes: Heart rate and blood pressure return to normal

12 hours: Carbon monoxide levels in the blood return to normal

Two weeks to three months: Circulation and lung function improves

One to nine months: Coughing decreases; cilia return to normal function, cleaning the lungs and reducing infection

One year: risk of coronary heart disease is half compared to a continuing smoker

American Cancer Society

An estimated 43.8 million, or 19 percent of U.S. adults, 18 and older, smoke


Men: 21.6 percent

Women: 16.5 percent


American Indian/Alaskan natives (non-Hispanic): 31.5 percent

Whites: 20.6 percent

Blacks: 19.4 percent

Hispanics: 12.9 percent

Asians: 9.9 percent


18-24: 18.9 percent

25-44: 22.1 percent

45-64: 21.4 percent

65+: 7.9 percent

Education level

With GED: 45.3 percent

With 9-11 years of education: 34.6 percent

With high school diploma: 23.8 percent

With undergraduate college degree: 9.3 percent

With postgraduate college degree: 5 percent

17 and younger, every day

About 4,000 smoke a first cigarette

About 1,000 become daily smokers

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 2011


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