Smokers encouraged to quit on Thursday

The American Cancer Society is encouraging millions of Americans to quit smoking on Thursday for the organization’s annual Great American Smokeout.

While smoking rates are at a historic low, more than half of adult smokers surveyed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention claimed they have not tried to quit smoking.

The ACS’s goal is to get people to give quitting a try, even if it is just for one day. While there are long-term benefits to quitting smoking, the ACS claims there are short-term benefits as well.

According to the Cancer Society, smokers’ blood pressure and heart rate begins to drop after just 20 minutes without smoking. In 12 hours, the body’s carbon monoxide level drops to normal levels.

With these short-term benefits, the ACS hopes smokers will want to make the smokeout a year-round event. Though tobacco users begin to see benefits to quitting within hours, some bodily functions take years, or even decades to recover.

Between one to nine months after quitting, the ACS claims that coughing and shortness of breath decreases, and the cilia in the lung starts to regain normal function. After one year, the risk of coronary heart disease is cut in half, though it takes a full 15 years without tobacco for the risk to be the same as the average non-smoker.

There is also the financial benefit. Tobacco costs Americans $133 billion annually. For each smoker, the direct cost could be over $2,000 annually, and that is before taking into consideration medical costs.

While more than 16 percent of the American population smokes tobacco, those numbers have dramatically decreased in recent years. Last week, the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention released a study showing that tobacco use has declined to record lows.

Read more about the CDC’s study

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