The American Cancer Society is offering tips to help you quit smoking during the Great American Smokeout on November 20, 2014.

According to the ACS, tobacco use is responsible for nearly 1 in 5 deaths each year in the United States. If you or someone you love is looking to kick the habit this year, here are some helpful tips on how to break free from your smoking addiction.

  1. Don’t keep it a secret. Include your friends and family in your quitting process; they can offer much-needed support.
  2. You’re not alone. More and more people are trying to break free from cigarettes and there are lots of support options available. Many communities, employers, and health care organizations have free or low-cost counseling and support available to help you quit. Call your American Cancer Society at 1-800-227-2345 to find out what’s available in your area.
  3. Consider using medication to help you quit. There are prescriptions and over-the-counter medications that can help you deal with withdrawal symptoms or even help to reduce the urge to smoke. You’ll want to talk to your doctor first, but some medicine could help.
  4. Dump the memories. Clear the places where you usually smoke of anything that reminds you of cigarettes – like lighters, ashtrays, or matches. Also ask other smokers not to smoke around you, and clean your house and car thoroughly to remove the smell of cigarettes.
  5. Avoid places where smokers gather. Go to the movies or other places where smoking is not allowed.
  6. Stay calm and stay busy. You may feel some nervous energy but it can be countered by physical and mental activities. Take long strolls and deep breaths of fresh air, and find things to keep your hands busy, like crossword puzzles or yard work. There are a lot of leaves on the ground at this time of year.
  7. Talk to your doctor. Before you begin any plan for quitting smoking you should check with your doctor to see what might be the best approach for you. Remember, quitting smoking is very personal and there isn’t one perfect method.
  8. When the urge to smoke strikes, do something else. If you feel a craving for a cigarette coming on, take a deep breath, count to 10 and then do something else. Call a supportive friend. Do brief exercises such as push-ups, walking up a flight of stairs, or touching your toes. Anything that will take your mind off your cravings.
  9. One will hurt. Many people fall into the trap of thinking that if they only have one cigarette it’s okay. But even that one smoke can get you back in the habit of smoking full time. Keeping a supply of oral substitutes like carrots, apples, raisins, or gum handy can help.
  10. Water, water everywhere. Drink lots of fluids to help curb cravings. Water is the best for this, and you’ll want to pass up on coffee and alcohol if they trigger your desire to smoke.

If you're having trouble quitting, the American Cancer Society can help. Call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-227-2345 or visit

More info on the Great American Smokeout:

The Great American Smokeout event takes place on the third Thursday of November each year, encouraging smokers to use the date to make a plan to quit, or to plan in advance and stop smoking that day. By quitting – even for one day – smokers take an important step toward a healthier life – one that can help reduce their cancer risk. Tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the United States, yet about 42 million Americans still smoke cigarettes. As of 2012, there were also 13.4 million cigar smokers in the US, and 2.3 million people who smoked tobacco in pipes, which are also dangerous and addictive forms of tobacco use.
The American Cancer Society created the trademarked concept for and held its first Great American Smokeout in 1976 as a way to inspire and encourage smokers to quit for a day. One million people quit smoking for a day at the 1976 event in California. The Great American Smokeout encourages smokers to commit to making a long-term plan to quit smoking for good.


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