Nearly 18 of every 100 U.S. adults aged 18 years or older (17.8%) smoke cigarettes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The Great American Smokeout (GASO) is about encouraging smokers to quit. Today, there are more smoking cessation tools than ever before to cure people of their addiction to nicotine and the key is to motivate them to take advantage of these tools.
GASO, a campaign launched by the American Cancer Society, is held on the third Thursday of November each year. It aims to encourage smokers to make a plan to quit, or to plan in advance and quit smoking on that day, in an effort to quit permanently. This year, which marks the 40th annual GASO, will be observed on November 19, 2015. The event provides information about the many tools smokers can use to help them kick the habit for good.
Over the years, this annual event has dramatically helped change Americans’ attitudes about smoking and saved millions of lives. Efforts to discourage smoking have led to a significant decline in smoking rates in the United States – from 42% of adults in 1965, 20.9% of adults in 2005 and to just 17.8% this year, reports the CDC.
Some people are able to quit on their own, without the help of others or use of medicines. However, it is not easy to break the physical habit and the emotional ties associated with it. The American Cancer Society reports that only 4 -7 percent of people succeed in their own in any given attempt to stop smoking.
Smoking is a chronic, relapsing condition and whether smokers will succeed or fail in their attempt to quit depends on several factors. Making the decision to quit is the most important step. The good news is that surveys have found that most smokers want to kick the habit. Making positive lifestyle changes helps control the risk factors associated with smoking. Increasing levels of physical activity and exercise can reduce the desire to smoke.
There are various tools available to help people quit smoking:
- Prescription medications can lessen cravings
- Telephone and online based support and counseling
- Smoking cessation programs and support groups
- Nicotine replacement products
- Encouragement and support from friends and family members
Smoking increases the risk factor for several diseases such as cancer, heart diseases, chronic respiratory diseases as well as premature death. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 480,000 Americans die every year from smoking-related illnesses – accounting for roughly 1 in 5 deaths – making it the leading preventable cause of death, disease and disability in the US. Having a perfect plan, rounding up support, deciding whether medical assistance (if required) and choosing a quit date can help increase the chances of success.
The Great American Smokeout provides smokers the opportunity to take steps to a lifestyle change. Research shows that the more a person tried to quit smoking, the greater are the chances of success.