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Great American Smokeout encourages a smoke-free future

ACS provides support for overcoming tobacco addiction to commit to healthier living.

To combat the leading cause of preventable death, ACS is hosting the Great American Smokeout on Nov. 16 to encourage people who smoke to make a plan to quit for a healthier future. Now in its 48th year, the Great American Smokeout is held on the third Thursday of November. This year ACS encourages people who smoke to commit to smoke-free lives, not just for a day, but year-round. 

Understand the urgency

Tobacco use remains the leading preventable cause of death in the US, accounting for about 1 in 5 deaths each year. While cigarette smoking rates have continued to decline in recent years due in part to the success of smoking cessation efforts, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 28 million US adults currently smoked cigarettes in 2021.

Some benefits of quitting smoking are almost immediate. Those who have quit smoking report fewer illnesses such as colds and the flu, lower rates of bronchitis and pneumonia, and tend to feel healthier than people who still smoke. Just 20 minutes after quitting, your heart rate and blood pressure drop. In just 12 hours, the carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal. In as little as 2 weeks to 3 months, your circulation improves and your lung function increases.

Learn more

To support this annual campaign, ACS developed Empowered to Quit, a smoking cessation program. Empowered to Quit helps people who smoke select a quit date, understand and manage their cravings, regulate symptoms of withdrawal, and set reminders of why they chose to quit smoking. Participants receive tailored emails and tools designed for every step of their journey.

In addition to smoking cessation, annual lung cancer screening is recommended for certain people and can reduce tobacco-related deaths. ACS recently announced updates to its lung cancer screening guideline, expanding eligibility to nearly 5 million more Americans who smoke or formerly smoked. The updated guideline recommends yearly screening for lung cancer for people aged 50 to 80 years old who smoke or formerly smoked and have a 20-year or greater pack-year history. The guideline also eliminates the ‘years since quitting’ requirement.

To make access to screenings easier, ACS has partnered with Color Health to offer a new, free screening access program. The convenient Lung Screening Access Program makes it easy for those who smoke or previously smoked to determine their eligibility and identify screening options – all with support from Color’s care advocates and clinicians who will order and write referrals for low-dose CT (ldCT) scans and book appointments for eligible individuals with lung cancer screening providers.

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