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Great American Smokeout: Kicking the habit, one day at a time

(Photo: MGN)

(WKEF/WRGT) - Today people all across the country will put down cigarettes and stop smoking for the Great American Smokeout. Every year the American Cancer Society holds the event to encourage people to stop smoking for just one day, in the hopes that it will lead to a lifelong decision.

“I think we need a reminder to quit,” Jeff Drope of the American Cancer Society said. “I think people often have it in the back of their minds but it’s really nice to get a push."

According to the American Cancer Society, about 36.5 million people in the United States still smoke, and each year 480,000 Americans die from it.

“If you quit before the age of 35 you can gain most of the life years lost from smoking tobacco products so you're looking on an average of a ten year loss and you can gain nine of those years back if you quit,” Drope said. “Even if you're older, you can still gain life years back. So there is a motivation to quit even well into your elderly years.".

But smoking is a chemical and behavioral addiction, and quitting can be difficult.

“For most people, they really need to make a plan and they need support,” Drope said. “So it's very important that they think through how they are going to quit and follow through with that."

Having a support system is key. Experts recommend turning to friends and family for help, or even a specialist to get professional assistance. The Ohio Tobacco Quit Line is 1-800-784-8669.

Other tips from those who have quit smoking include:

  1. Find distractions
  2. Substitute cigarettes with mints, lozenges, or gum
  3. Get a stress ball
  4. Take up a new hobby
  5. Start exercising regularly
  6. Drink plenty of water
  7. Meditate
  8. Find your reason for quitting

For more information on quitting you can go to: https://smokefree.gov/

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