Does the air seem clearer to you than it did when you were very young? It should. The percentage of Americans who smoke has dropped drastically over the last few decades.
Between 1965 and 2004, cigarette smoking by adults declined by half, from 42 percent to 21 percent. That translates into countless thousands of people who never developed lung cancer but would have had they smoked.
The progress being made shows the power of the thousands of American Cancer Society volunteers who advocated for the right to breathe clean, smoke-free air. Their efforts rechanneled through the Society's nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network - ACS CAN, which conducts aggressive grassroots campaigns nationwide to make the passage of strong, comprehensive smoke-free laws a priority. The results have been significant:
Approximately 79 percent of the U.S. population is protected from secondhand smoke by a smoke-free workplace and/or restaurant and/or bar law.
Thirty-five states and the District of Columbia have either implemented or enacted statewide smoking bans that prohibit smoking in workplaces and/or restaurants and/or bars.
More than 3,397 municipalities have passed smoke-free legislation.
November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month
Lung cancer is the leading killer for men and women in the U.S. Quitting smoking is a very important step in reducing your cancer risk. If you are ready and willing to quit, Quitline Iowa can help.
Experience a FREE program that has helped smokers quite for almost 25 years.
Increase your chances of quitting successfully.
Talk to a trained coach who will listen and give you the support you need.
Enjoy the rest of your life as a nonsmoker.
If you are read to quit and want to enroll in Quitline, please call 1-800-QUITLINENOW, visit www.quitlineIowa.org, or contact the Webster County Health Department for assistance at 573-4107.
- Source: Webster County Health Department
Despite the progress being made, smoking remains the most preventable cause of death. The American Cancer Society estimates that more than 156,000 Americans will die of lung cancer in 2011, and Smoking is thought to account for 87 percent of all lung cancer deaths.
"Although the numbers show that we have seen a decline in smokers over the decades, as a physician, I see on a regular basis the devastating effects smoking can cause," said Dr. James Meyer, medical director of the Respiratory Care and Sleep Disorders unit at Trinity Regional Medical Center. "Informing patients, because of their smoking, they now have COPD or cancer is one of the more difficult parts of my job. Disease associated with smoking not only affects the smoker but also their loved ones. However, I always tell my patients there is hope. By quitting smoking they can dramatically improve their quality of life and in some cases stop their disease from progressing further. Studies have shown that even a 50-year-old can cut their risk of dying in the next 15 years in half, compared to those who continue to smoke."
Are you thinking about quitting smoking but not sure you're ready to take the plunge? Maybe the American Cancer Society Great American Smokeout is for you. It's an opportunity to join with literally millions of other smokers in saying "no thanks" to cigarettes for 24 hours. Studies have shown that tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the U.S. One-third of cancer deaths could be prevented if people avoided tobacco products. Smokers who quit can add up to eight years (and up to eight more birthdays) onto their lives.
As the official sponsor of birthdays, the American Cancer Society marks the 37th Great American Smokeout on Thursday by encouraging smokers to use the date to make a plan to quit, or to plan in advance and quit smoking that day. By doing so, smokers will be taking an important step towards a healthier life - one that can lead to reducing cancer risk and creating more birthdays.
"Quitting smoking is tough, but it is not impossible. I have watched many of my patients succeed," said Dr. Meyer. "There are a lot of resources available, as well as medications. Before trying to quit, smokers need to develop a plan of how they are going to get through those tough moments. They also need to include family members to provide the support they will need. And if there is more than one smoker in a house hold, November 15 is a great day as family to start a new beginning for overall health. I cannot stress enough how quitting smoking can greatly impact one's health. Everything from being able to walk without shortness of breath to food tasting better is improved by making this lifestyle change."
Mark your calendar for the American Cancer Society Great American Smokeout on Thursday - the day to make a plan to quit smoking for good. Visit cancer.org/smokeout to pick a quit day, prepare for quitting, and get support after you've quit. Download special tools designed to help support you on your journey and to fight cravings.
Increase your chances of quitting successfully by talking to your health care provider or connecting with Quitline Iowa about nicotine replacement therapy and other medicines to help with withdrawal. All services provided by the Quitline are free to Iowans. To get started enroll online or call 1-800-QUIT-NOW - (800) 784-8669.
By quitting smoking, you can take one of the most important steps toward staying well and helping create a world with less cancer and more birthdays. The American Cancer Society is in your corner around the clock at (800) 227-2345 or at cancer.org.
Liddy Hora is an American Cancer Society account manager. For more information on how you can help create more birthdays, contact Hora at 576-7975 or firstname.lastname@example.org.