A great day to quit

The American Cancer Society designates the third Thursday of November as The Great American Smokeout — a day to quit smoking or make plans to do so.

According to the ACS website, 40 million Americans still smoke cigarettes. While the percentage of American adults who smoke cigarettes has fallen from 42 percent in 1965 to 17 percent, the number of people who smoke cigars, pipes and hookahs is increasing.

A few years ago we lost a cousin who was a heavy smoker to lung cancer. This comes on top of a grandfather and an even younger cousin who both died of lung cancer. They were heavy smokers, also.

The ACS on the internet (cancer.org) has great ideas and tools to help you quit.

Another valuable resource is the Hawaii Tobacco Quitline (hawaiiquitline.org). It offers free advice, patches and gum. It also now has coaches who will help you find the best method to quit. It is also available via a toll-free number — 1-800QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) — available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The American Cancer Society reminds us that it is never too late to quit smoking — and some of the benefits are immediate. For example, it notes that just 20 minutes after quitting, heart rate and blood pressure drop. The carbon monoxide level in your blood returns to normal in 12 hours.

Please, if you still smoke, use today’s Great American Smokeout to make plans to quit. Your family and friends want you to have a long and healthy life.

* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.

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