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Hofer: How to add 10 years to your life

Did you know that smokers who quit can add up to 10 years to their lives? If you’ve been thinking of quitting, maybe that’s just the incentive you need. Think about it: 10 more years to enjoy your family, to celebrate life, dance at a pow wow, cheer on your team at a basketball tourney; 10 more years to follow your dreams. Isn’t that worth it?

Now’s the time to make that plan to quit. Because the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout is coming up Nov. 18, a day when people all over the nation will be throwing out their cigarettes and giving up the habit once and for all. And you can join them.

Here’s the best part: The American Cancer Society has all kinds of tools and tips to help you quit. For example, smokers who want to quit commercial tobacco can call the American Cancer Society Quit For Life program (managed by Free & Clear) at (800) 227-2345 for tobacco cessation and coaching services that can help increase the chances of quitting for good. The society also has online tools at www.cancer.org/Smokeout, such as a crave button – to help you get through cravings and a quit clock – to help you count down to your day of quitting – web tools that can help smokers plan towards kicking the habit for good.

Nov. 18. Mark it on the calendar, and get ready to quit. And know that we at the American Cancer Society are rooting for you.

About the American Cancer Society

At the American Cancer Society, our vision is a world with less cancer and more birthdays. As part of that vision, we are fighting cancer in every community, for every family, to help save lives. We recognize each community has different needs and we’re here to help everyone stay well and get well, to find cures, and to fight back against cancer. For cancer information visit www.cancer.org or call (800) 227-2345.

Charlotte Hofer is public relations manager for the American Cancer Society in South Dakota. She is a member of the Native American Journalists Association, and her work for ACS focuses on cancer education through the media. Contact her at charlotte.hofer@cancer.org.

When smokers quit – What are the benefits over time?

20 minutes after quitting: Your heart rate and blood pressure drop. 12 hours after quitting: The carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal.

2 weeks to 3 months after quitting: Your circulation improves and your lung function increases.

1 to 9 months after quitting: Coughing and shortness of breath decrease

1 year after quitting: The excess risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a smoker’s.

5 years after quitting: Your stroke risk is reduced to that of a non-smoker 5 to 15 years after quitting.

10 years after quitting: The lung cancer death rate is about half that of a person who continues smoking. The risk of other cancers decreases too.

15 years after quitting: The risk of coronary heart disease is the same as a non-smoker’s.

-- American Cancer Society