by QuitNet team member Corrie Mook
Sometimes we all need a little nudge to make a significant life change. For many smokers, the Great American Smokeout is just that: a day full of encouragement and support to become smoke-free for good. The Great American Smokeout, hosted by the American Cancer Society, is an opportunity to commit to a tobacco-free life, by starting with just one day.
Tobacco is the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the United States -- and half of all Americans who keep smoking will die from it. The most important thing that smokers can do to improve their health is quit.
Quitting smoking has both short- and long-term benefits. Within 20 minutes, a smoker’s blood pressure drops. Within 12 hours, the body’s carbon monoxide levels have returned to normal. Lung function and circulation continue to improve over the next few months, and within 5 years, a smoker’s risk of contracting certain cancers is halved. It’s never too late to experience positive health changes after quitting smoking, and it all starts with the first day.
We also know that those with support tend to go further than those who go it alone. Bonnie S., a QuitNet member since 2016, used the Great American Smokeout as her starting point for a life without tobacco and is continuing strong in her quit:
“This is not my first quit, by any means. However I truly believe this is my final and forever quit. One Day at a Time. I quit on Nov. 17th, the day of last year’s Great American Smokeout. My doctor suggested I give it a go and try to quit just for the one day. I did. And I continued to stay smoke free ODAT from that day to now... Day by day, I am getting stronger… I feel such gratitude to all you here! You have made this journey much easier than I could have ever expected.”
The journey to becoming tobacco-free is one worth taking. Make the pledge, and encourage those you know to quit, too. By the next Great American Smokeout, you could be celebrating your one-year anniversary of being smoke-free!