For more than 40 years, the American Cancer Society has hosted the Great American Smokeout on the third Thursday of November. The event is an opportunity for people who smoke to commit to healthy, smoke-free lives by encouraging smokers to use the date to make a plan to quit or to quit smoking that day.

While tobacco use among Arizona adults remains significantly below the national average (14 percent as reported in the 2018 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System),  there are still an estimated 700,000 adult smokers in Arizona. We continue to work hard to reduce the number one preventable cause of death and disease in Arizona.

The benefits of quitting are both immediate and lifelong. Within 12 hours of quitting, the carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal. By three months, your circulation improves and your lung function increases. Approximately one year after quitting, the excess risk of coronary heart disease is half that of someone who continues to smoke, and your risk for a heart attack drops dramatically.

Support from friends and family are essential, and things like nicotine replacement therapy can help make the difference between success and failure when quitting smoking. People in Arizona can get free telephone quit coaching through the Arizona Smokers’ Helpline, or ASHLine, at 1-800-55-66-222. By quitting—even for one day—people who smoke will be taking an important step toward a healthier life.