Janice talked with Heather Adams, Mission Delivery Program Manager for the American Cancer Society, and Gary Cornelius, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network Volunteer. Tobacco use is the most preventable cause of death in our society. On November 16, the American Cancer Society will mark its annual Great American Smokeout, a day in which the Society encourages smokers to quit. In 2017, about 190,500 of the estimated 600,900 cancer deaths in the US will be caused by cigarette smoking. In the United States, cigarette smoking is responsible for nearly 1 in 5 deaths annually. About half of the people who continue to smoke will die prematurely from smoking-related diseases. People suffer from chronic health problems related to smoking, such as chronic bronchitis, emphysema, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases. The best way to quit using tobacco and stay quit is to use more than one quit approach. Approaches that can help someone quit include:
- Behavioral therapy/counseling
- Nicotine replacement therapy - gum, skin patches, inhaler, spray, or lozenges
- Non-nicotine prescription medicine - such as ibupropion or varenicline
- Peer support
- Advice from a healthcare provider
- A combination of the therapies listed above
Equally important is the prevention of tobacco use among children and youth. According to the 2014 Surgeon General's Report, nearly 9 out of 10 adult smokers started before age 18, and 98% started by age 26. And 3 out of 4 high school smokers will become adult smokers – even if they intend to quit in a few years. People who start smoking at younger ages are more likely to develop long-term nicotine addiction than people who start later in life. Quitting tobacco, or not starting, is the single most important action that can be taken to reduce cancer in the US. If all adults stopped smoking and children didn't start, about one-third of all cancer deaths could be prevented, billions of dollars would be saved, and millions of family members and friends would avoid the sickness and premature death of a loved one. To get help or learn more, visit cancer.org/smokeout or call 1-800-227-2345 for free tips and tools.