Each year on the third Thursday of November, the American Cancer Society invites smokers to participate in the Great American Smokeout, an event focused on preventing disease and death caused by cigarettes and tobacco. According to the American Cancer Society1, “by quitting – even for 1 day – smokers will be taking an important step toward a healthier life and reducing their cancer risk.”
Smokers are encouraged to:
- Give up their use of cigarettes/tobacco for the day;
- Use the day to make a plan to quit; or
- Quit smoking that very day
While quitting smoking can be difficult, it has both immediate and long-term benefits to your clients’ health2:
- After 20 minutes, heart rate and blood pressure drop
- After 12 hours, carbon monoxide levels return to normal
- After 1-9 months, coughing and shortness of breath decrease
- After 1 year, the excess risk of coronary heart disease is half that of someone who still smokes
- After 5 years, the risk of cancers of the mouth, throat, esophagus, and bladder is cut in half
- After 10 years, the risk of dying from lung cancer is about half that of those who don’t smoke
- After 15 years, the risk of coronary heart disease is that of those who don’t smoke
With the consistent rises in costs for medical care and insurance, your clients are likely worried about potential financial battles related to their health concerns. Quitting smoking is a lifestyle change they can make to prevent and/or lower their risk of the conditions noted above as well as to lower their risk of diabetes, to allow their blood vessels to work more effectively, and to extend their life expectancy2. Despite the number of those who smoke dropping in the last few years, approximately 36.5 million Americans still smoke and others methods of smoking tobacco are trending.
When working with clients who need to factor smoking into their long-term health and healthcare coverage needs, encourage them to visit resources from the American Cancer Society. Quitting isn’t easy, but if your clients know how to do it and know where to go for help, they have a better chance of making a lifestyle change that sticks. Smoking is lifestyle choice that is among the largest preventable causes of disease and premature death1, and your clients deserve the support of loved ones, their medical community, and those in the healthcare coverage field when they are ready to make a different choice.
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1: “The Great American Smokeout.” American Cancer Society. https://www.cancer.org/healthy/stay-away-from-tobacco/great-american-smokeout.html
2: “Great American Smokeout: Free help for those who want to quit smoking.” Dr. Janna Kroiss. http://www.htrnews.com/story/life/2017/11/06/great-american-smokeout-free-help-available-those-who-want-quit-smoking-cigarettes-ask-doctor/836503001/
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