Whether you’re a smoker or a former smoker, you know it takes support when you try to quit smoking. The American Cancer Society (ACS) and The Great American Smokeout have been providing that support since 1976 – helping smokers kick the habit one day at a time.
The Great American Smokeout, held the third Thursday of November – this year it was Thursday, November 17 – encourages smokers to stay smoke free for 24 hours, and to use that time to make a plan to quit for good.
Tools for Quitting Smoking
As part of a plan to quit smoking, The Great American Smokeout is a great idea, but smokers need more than ideas to fight their addiction. To further help them kick the habit, the ACS offers information, strategies, and tools on its website to help make quitting possible.
The site’s cigarette calculator gives smokers a shocking look into the number of cigarettes they smoke in a week, a month, or a year, and shows just how much money is literally going up in smoke.
The ACS also provides smokers trying to quit with a health benefits guide that shows how long it takes the human body to recover after quitting smoking. According to the guide, it takes 15 years of smoke-free life for the heart of a former smoker to have the same risk of coronary heart disease as the heart of a nonsmoker.
The ACS has also gone digital, offering desktop downloads that help smokers keep track of their successes and distract them when a bad craving hits. There is nothing like a game of memory to get your mind thinking about something other than cigarettes.
Even with all of these resources, some smokers need more help to finally kick the habit for good.
Other Support for Quitting Smoking
In addition to the ACS, other groups and organizations are available to help smokers get nicotine free.
Smokefree.gov provides free, accurate, evidence-based information and professional assistance to help support the immediate and long-term needs of people trying to quit smoking. Smokefree offers quitting guides, live expert help online or over the phone, facts for smokers hoping to learn what their quitting options are, and special resources designed to help women deal with the specific issues that they face when trying to quit smoking.
Becomeanex.org teaches smokers how to re-learn their lives without cigarettes. In addition to recalibrating your life to one without cigarettes, BecomeAnEx offers an online community – the Ex Community – that offers people trying to quit a forum of support made up of people who know what they are going through.
The Great American Smokeout 2011
Whether you decide to quit November 17 or simply come up with a plan of action, the key to quitting smoking is persistence – so keep trying. According to the ACS, only 4% to 7% of people who try to quit cold turkey are successful, and only 25% to 33% of people who use medication to help them quit are still smoke free after six months. So keep trying, and keep quitting until you are smoke free.
Author: Brendan Purves