LAS VEGAS (KXNT) – The Great American Smoke out, which debuted in 1976, is a chance for smokers to kick the habit for at least one day with the hope that it could lead to a permanent change. The American Cancer Society has designated Thursday, November 16 as this year’s Great American Smoke out. The Southern Nevada Health District encourages smokers to take up the challenge and quit for one day and take steps to commit to a long-term plan to quit for good. For information about resources to quit smoking, tobacco products, smoke-free living or smoke-free meeting spaces, visit the Health District’s GetHealthyClarkCounty.org website.
In Clark County, eight of 10 people are non-smokers. However, every year it’s estimated that 1,000 Nevadans under the age of 18 become daily smokers. About 80 percent of adult smokers became regular smokers before the age of 18. Health care costs are about $1.08 billion for smoking-related illnesses, and 4,100 Nevadans die from smoking-related illnesses each year. The average smoker will spend approximately $2,000 annually on cigarettes.
State residents can contact the Nevada Tobacco Quit line 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) from a Nevada area code to access a free, phone-based service for anyone age 13 or older. Callers will speak with a ‘coach’ who can offer quitting assistance in English and Spanish. The Quit line is available Monday-Sunday, 4 a.m.-10 p.m. Through the Quit line program, people can receive a free supply of nicotine replacement patches, gum or lozenges. Coaches will determine eligibility to receive the free therapy. In addition, the Nevada Tobacco Quit line offers a free, online service to assist enrolled participants in accessing research-based information, coaches, and a community of individuals who are in the process of quitting. Visit http://www.nevadatobaccoquitline.com to access the online program. In addition, Quit line coaches can provide information about dealing with stress and fighting cravings, as well as coping with weight gain and other issues that happen when people attempt to quit smoking.
Former smokers reap health benefits almost immediately. Just 20 minutes after squashing out a final cigarette, the heart rate drops to a normal level. In three months, the risk of a heart attack drops; in one year, the added risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a smoker’s; in firve to 15 years, the risk of a stroke is reduced to that of a non smoker’s; and 15 years after quitting, the risk of dying from lung cancer or bladder cancer is reduced to half of smoker’s risk and the risk of coronary heart disease is the same as a non smoker’s.
While many Americans are choosing to use alternative tobacco products to assist them to quit smoking, it’s important to not that many of these products, such as e-cigarettes, have not been approved by the FDA as smoking cessation tools. E-cigarettes also contain toxins and cancer causing chemicals themselves.
The most effective way to quit smoking is to make a plan and get assistance to develop a strategy. Quitting tips include identifying triggers and habits, such as an ‘after dinner’ cigarette, driving, or consuming alcohol or coffee. The American Cancer Society offers several tips to help:
*Spend time in places where smoking is prohibited, especially the first few days after quitting.
*Drink large quantities of water and fruit juice.
*Avoid alcohol, coffee, and other beverages associated with smoking.
*Eat several small meals to maintain blood sugar levels, avoid sugary or spicy foods that trigger a desire for cigarettes.
*Take deep rhythmic breaths to relax.
*Join a support group.