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Time to Join the Great American Smokeout

Someday, when you look back on the year 2020, you will most likely remember it negatively as the year of COVID-19. But if you’re a smoker, you have a great opportunity to remember the year in a much better light – by finally quitting smoking.

In fact, the risk of getting COVID-19 might be even more inspiration to quit. According to the Food & Drug Administration, “Smoking cigarettes can leave you more vulnerable to respiratory illnesses, such as COVID-19. Smoking cigarettes can also cause inflammation and cell damage throughout the body, and can weaken your immune system, making it less able to fight off disease.”

“Start with day one”

Every November the American Cancer Society (ACS) sponsors the Great American Smokeout. Officially it’s the third Thursday in November – this year, Nov. 19 – but why wait? You can join millions of others who were finally able to take back control of their health by starting on any given day. “Quitting smoking isn’t easy,” says the ACS website. “You don’t have to stop smoking in one day. Start with day one. Let the Great American Smokeout event on the third Thursday in November be your day to start your journey toward a smoke-free life.”

The ACS notes that it’s common to experience stops and starts when you try to quit smoking. The key is to stay committed and keep trying. You may also want some help from prescriptions, therapy or other programs. The ACS website provides numerous suggestions.

Get ready…

Before what the ACS calls your “Quit Day,” the organization recommends you prepare with steps such as:

  • Tell friends and family about your Quit Day.
  • Stock up on oral substitutes – sugarless gum, carrot sticks, hard candy, cinnamon sticks, coffee stirrers, straws, and/or toothpicks.
  • Set up a support system. This could be a group program or a friend or family member who has successfully quit and is willing to help you.

“Successful quitting is a matter of planning and commitment, not luck,” says the ACS. “Decide now on your own plan.”

…And start

Think of this as the start, not the end, of something. To quit smoking is actually to begin a newer, much healthier lifestyle. It won’t be easy, but you can do it. Let 2020 be the year you began life as a nonsmoker!

Learn all about the Great American Smokeout here.