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Our View: Now’s the time to quit smoking

Published: Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012 5:30 a.m. CDT

Smoking cigarettes causes about one in every five deaths in the U.S. annually.

That adds up to about 443,000 preventable deaths each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Also from the CDC:

• Adults who smoke cigarettes die 14 years earlier than nonsmokers.

• An estimated 25 million Americans who are alive today will die prematurely from smoking-related illnesses, including 5 million people younger than 18 years of age.

• Men who smoke increase their risk of dying from bronchitis by nearly 10 times, from emphysema by nearly 10 times, and from lung cancer by more than 22 times.

• Women who smoke increase their risk of dying from bronchitis by more than 10 times, from emphysema by more than 10 times, and from lung cancer by nearly 12 times.

What’s the point of this dire data?

Smoking cigarettes is the largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the U.S. Essentially, nonsmokers and former smokers have a distinct advantage on smokers when it comes to life expectancy.

Today is the 37th annual Great American Smokeout, a day established to remind smokers about the dangers of their bad habit and encourage them to either quit or establish a plan to quit.

Of course, cigarettes are addictive, so quitting smoking is not easy.

Here are some tips to help smokers quit:

• Talk to your physician about available medications and/or nicotine replacement products that can help you.

• Ask your family, friends and co-workers for support and encouragement.

• Change your routine and plan to keep yourself busy.

• Have a positive attitude.

• Consider joining a quit-smoking class. Classes are available at Kishwaukee Community Hospital, with the next sessions beginning in January. A schedule is available online at www.kishhospital.org.

If you’re a smoker and quitting for yourself is not motivation enough, do it for your loved ones.

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