“The most important thing smokers can do to improve their health is to quit smoking cigarettes and other forms of combustible tobacco,” said Melissa Brangan, TFN Community Specialist. “We are showing our support for people who take those first steps toward making a plan to quit.”
Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States, accounting for 29% of all cancer deaths. In fact, smoking cigarettes kills more Americans than alcohol, car accidents, HIV, guns, and illegal drugs combined. Smoking not only causes cancer. It damages nearly every organ in the body, including the lungs, heart, blood vessels, reproductive organs, mouth, skin, eyes, and bones.
Addiction to nicotine in cigarettes is one of the strongest and most deadly addictions one can have. While cigarette smoking rates have dropped (from 42% in 1965 to 15.5% in 2016), about 37.8 million Americans smoke cigarettes. Each year, approximately 20 million American smokers try to quit, representing more than half of the 37.8 million smokers in the U.S. Only about 1.4 million (7%) succeed. An even greater percentage of smokers (68%) report being interested in quitting.
Quitting is hard. It takes commitment and starts with a plan, often takes more than one quit attempt, and requires a lot of support. Getting help through counseling and/or prescription medications can double or triple your chances of quitting successfully. Support is also important. Smoking cessation programs, telephone quitlines, the American Cancer Society’s Freshstart program, Nicotine Anonymous meetings, self-help materials such as books and pamphlets, and smoking cessation counselors or coaches can be a great help.
Tobacco Free Network is partnering with the American Cancer Society, which is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to provide support as people make their plan to quit. More information is available at cancer.org/smokeout or by calling 1-800-227-2345.
“TFN wants to help the people in our community of Syracuse city schools to be healthy and happy,” said Melissa Brangan, TFN. “During this year’s Great American Smokeout® event, we hope everyone will join us – and encourage their friends, family and colleagues to join us – in committing or recommitting to year-around, smoke-free lives.”