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Time to QuitOn your mark, get set, quit! Did you know that November 16 is the Great American Smokeout? While it may sound like the name of a tasty Southern barbecue, it’s actually a day created for Americans to encourage one another to quit smoking.

In 2017, an estimated 36.5 million Americans still smoke and tobacco remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death around the world. Cigarette smoking rates have declined drastically over the past couple decades, (from 42.1 percent in 1965 to 15 percent in 2015), but unfortunately, cigar, pipe and hookah smoking are on the rise.

The truth is there no “safe” way to smoke tobacco, but quitting is hard. That’s why the American Cancer Society declared the third Thursday of November as the Great American Smokeout, a day to challenge Americans to make a plan to quit or completely stop smoking.

Studies have found that smokers are most successful in kicking the habit when they have the right support in place, such as:

  • Phone smoke-cessation hotlines
  • In-person stop smoking groups
  • Online quit groups
  • Counseling
  • Nicotine replacement products
  • Prescription medicine to lessen nicotine cravings
  • Guide books
  • Encouragement and support from loved ones

Using two or more of these methods is exponentially more effective than using any one of them alone.

We don’t have to tell you all about the benefits of quitting smoking, but we also already know that stopping is no walk in the park. But remember that it’s never too late to quit. The sooner you stop quitting, the more you can reduce your risk of your chance of getting cancer and other diseases.

Whether you are a regular or casual smoker, we urge you to consider celebrating the Great American Smokeout with a plan to quit smoking tobacco. If you are not a smoker, but you have a loved one who is, get the conversation started. Encouragement may be just the push he or she needs to make the change. As we’ve seen, love and support can make all of the difference in the world.

Make today the first day to creating your plan to stop smoking. From all of us at Lions Pride, we’d like to wish you the best of luck on your journey. By quitting, even just for one day, you will be taking an essential step toward a healthier life.