Every year since 1976, the third Thursday in November marks the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout, a day when smokers are encouraged to quit for the day and make a plan to quit for good.

With a few weeks to go until the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout, there are a few things to start thinking about to get yourself pumped up and excited about quitting.

  1. Do you want to stop? No one has to tell you that you should. You already know that. But do you want to? That's a big question that only you can answer.
  2. What will you gain by quitting? More money? More active time with loved ones? Respect from others who've accomplished it? Breathing better? No more smokers cough?
  3. Make a list and review it every time you smoke.
  4. Try to start cutting back. Give up the cigarettes you smoke out of boredom. You know what I'm talking about, the ones your smoking and don't even realize it.
  5. Don't keep a constant supply of cigarettes anymore. Make it an inconvenience when you don't have any. You might not smoke as much to make them last till the next day.

We'll be sharing more helpful tips on how you can get yourself ready for the big day. Here's the timeline of what happens to your body after your last cigarette.

  • 20 minutes: Your heart rate and blood pressure drop.
  • 12 hours: The carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal.
  • 2 weeks to 3 months: Circulation improves, and lung function increases.
  • 1 to 9 months: Coughing and shortness of breath decrease; cilia start to regain normal function in the lungs, increasing the ability to clean the lungs and reduce infection.
  • 1 year: The excess risk of coronary heart disease is reduced by half
  • 5 years: Risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, and bladder are cut in half. Stroke risk can fall to that of a non-smoker after 2-5 years.
  • 10 years: The risk of dying from lung cancer is about half that of a person who is still smoking. The risk of cancer of the larynx (voice box) and pancreas decreases.
  • 15 years: The risk of coronary heart disease is that of a non-smoker’s.

Visit www.cancer.org/smokeout for resources and information to help you quit!

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