The American Cancer Society marks the Great American Smokeout on the third Thursday of November each year by encouraging smokers to use the date to make a plan to quit or to plan in advance and quit smoking that day.

By quitting — even for one day — smokers will be taking an important step toward a healthier life — one that can lead to reducing cancer risk. Tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the U.S., yet about 43.8 million American still smoke cigarettes — nearly 1 in 5 adults. As of 2010, there were 13.2 million cigar smokers and 2.2 million who smoke tobacco in pipes — other dangerous and addictive forms of tobacco.

The health benefits of quitting start immediately from the moment of smoking cessation. Quitting as a young person will reduce health risks more, but quitting at any age can give back years of life that would be lost by continuing to smoke.

Research shows that smokers are most successful in kicking the habit with two or more of the following supports: Telephone smoking-cessation hotlines, stop-smoking groups, online quit groups, counseling, nicotine replacement products, prescription medicine to lessen cravings, guidebooks, encouragement and support from friends and family members.

To learn more about quitting smoking and improving health, visit the website or call the American Cancer Society anytime at 1-800-227-2345.

For questions regarding this article, contact Gale Mills, extension educator at Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service in Washington County, by phone at 918-534-2216 or by email at