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Quitting Can Make You a Winner

Photo showing ballpoint pen pointing toward the 15th of the month, circled in red on a calendar

Two out of every three cigarette smokers want to quit. Quitting is possible: the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout® reminds us that anyone can take the step to try to quit.

Here’s some good news about cigarette smoking— there are now more former smokers than current smokers in the United States. The ones who continue are also smoking less often.

Unfortunately, there are still too many people dying or suffering from smoking-related diseases. Cigarette smoking is still the number one preventable cause of disease and death in this country. One in five people in the U.S. dies from a cause related to cigarette smoking. Secondhand smoke exposure also has health risks for non-smokers, including children, every year. But quitting is possible: the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout® reminds us that anyone can take the step to try to quit. On November 15, if you know one of the more than 34 million American adult cigarette smokers, let them know that there is help and hope for better health.

Two out of every three cigarette smokers want to quit. A little over half of those who have ever smoked have quit. Knowing the dangers of cigarette smoking helps people stop and keeps them from starting. In fact, there are 15.8 million fewer current smokers than in 1965, the year that the federal government began keeping track of smoking rates.

According a study published November 8 in CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, almost all American adults who use tobacco in any form smoke it. The most popular product among U.S. adults is cigarettes. The U.S. Surgeon General has concluded that cigarettes and other smoked tobacco product are responsible for the overwhelming burden of death and disease from tobacco use. These products are linked to the highest number deaths and illnesses by far compared to all tobacco products, and they create dangerous secondhand smoke.

E-cigarettes have the potential to benefit adult smokers who are not pregnant if used as a complete substitute for regular cigarettes and other smoked tobacco products. However, scientists still have a lot to learn about whether e-cigarettes are effective for quitting smoking. Also, most adult e-cigarette users do not stop smoking cigarettes and are instead continuing to use both products (known as “dual use”). Dual use is not an effective way to safeguard your health, whether you’re using e-cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, or other tobacco products in addition to regular cigarettes.

One of the best ways to safeguard your health is not to start using any tobacco in the first place, and to quit as soon as possible if you do smoke. Think about quitting smoking this November 15. Quitting happens one day at a time, and if you make this year’s Great American Smokeout® the first, you’re one day closer to being free from smoking. Quitting is hard, but you learn something new each time you try. Your health and your family’s health are worth it.

Photo showing a portrait of Tiffany, one of the Tips From Former Smokers® campaign participants
Tiffany found inspiration and strength in family to put down cigarettes for good.

How Tiffany Quit Smoking

Tiffany smoked cigarettes even though her mother, also a smoker, died of lung cancer when Tiffany was just 16. At age 34, Tiffany made the decision to quit. She set a date to and reached out to family and friends for support.

As part of her plan to quit, Tiffany changed her morning ritual. Instead of getting up an hour early to drink coffee and smoke cigarettes, she enjoyed an extra hour of sleep. She got rid of all the cigarettes and ashtrays in her home and car.

As a reminder of her mother’s life—and death—she carried her mother’s picture with her everywhere she went on her own quit journey. “Watching her suffer was awful,” Tiffany says. “I felt alone and scared.”

For a while, Tiffany stayed away from social events where she thought she might be tempted to smoke. Drinking more water and exercising more often helped keep cravings away, and she quickly discovered that without cigarettes, she had more strength and energy.

Many Ways to Quit

  • Reach out by phone at 1-800-QUIT-NOW
    • 1-855-DÉJELO-YA (Spanish)
    • 1-800-838-8917 (Chinese)
    • 1-800-556-5564 (Korean)
    • 1-800-778-quit
    • 8440 (Vietnamese)
  • Download a smokefree smartphone app to jumpstart your journey.
  • Teens and young adults can get support via text message with SmokefreeTXT.
  • Military service members and family can find support at UCanQuit2.

Don’t Go It Alone

You have the power to start your quit journey right now. Thousands more will commit to quit today—you won’t be alone!

Think about using a special counselor (in-person, by phone, or online it is your choice). The counselor can help you find healthy things to think and do instead of smoking. There are medications, including skin patches and nicotine gum or lozenges, that have been scientifically shown to help people quit. These medicines use a small amount of nicotine to reduce cravings. Some products work better than others for different people; it’s important to find what works for you. Medication or counseling make your odds of quitting better, and they work best when used together.

Information about free resources are located in the box above or you can visit Smokefree.gov (Spanish: espanol.smokefree.gov) and start your quit journey today. You’ll never know how strong you can be until you try to quit smoking for good. Prove to yourself that you have what it takes—for your friends, your family, and yourself.

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