RIDGEWOOD, N.J. -- Smokers across the country are getting ready to kick their butts this Thursday, thanks to the Great American Smokeout. The event is sponsored by the American Cancer Society and encourages smokers across the nation to use the date to make a plan to quit, even if only for the day.
According to the ACS, tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the United States. However, about 42 million Americans still smoke cigarettes; nearly 1 in every 5 adults. As of 2012, there were also 13.4 million cigar smokers in the U.S., and 2.3 million who smoke tobacco in pipes.
Quitting smoking is one of the most important steps smokers can take to improve their health. And no matter how long they've smoked or how often they've tried to quit, it’s never too late to try again.
The ACS urges smokers to consider about how fast your body recovers once you put out that last cigarette, cigar, or pipe. After:
- 20 minutes your heart rate and blood pressure drop.
- 12 hours your carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal.
- 2 – 3 months your circulation improves and your lung function increases.
- 1 – 9 months coughing and shortness of breath decrease.
- 1 year your risk of heart disease is half that of a continuing smoker
- 5 years your risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus and bladder are cut in half.
- 10 years the risk of dying from lung cancer is about half that of a person still smoking.
- 15 years your risk of heart disease is that of a non-smoker’s.
The Valley Hospital is currently offering free screening for lung cancer with low-dose computed tomography to those ages 55 to 80 who are eligible based on the screening guidelines. The test is painless and only takes about 15 or 20 minutes. Requests to be considered for a free screening may be made online here , or by calling 201-634-5757.
Learn about Valley’s Smoking Cessation Program .