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American Cancer Society offers tips on how to quit smoking for good

Today marks the beginning of the American Cancer Society's annual "Great American Smokeout," a campaign to stop the single largest preventable cause of disease.

PHOENIX — Tobacco use is the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the U.S., according to the American Cancer Society.

To try and help people quit, the society is kicking off its 46th Annual "Great American Smokeout" on Thursday.

The "Great American Smokeout” encourages smokers to use the day to plan to quit or initiate a smoking cessation plan as an important step toward a healthier life and to reduce the risk for cancer," the society said.

The society offered the following tips on how someone can start the path to quitting smoking, including:

  • Keep trying - The bottom line when it comes to quitting smoking is that the person needs to keep trying, the society said. It can take multiple serious attempts before a person who smokes, quits forever.

  • Medications - The society reported that research shows using certain medications can increase the chances of people successfully quitting, including:
    • Nicotine gum
    • Nicotine patches
    • Nicotine lozenges
    • Nicotine inhalers
    • Nicotine nasal sprays
    • Zyban (bupropion) – an antidepressant
    • Chantix (varenicline) – a drug that blocks the effects of nicotine in the brain

  • Counseling - There are numerous smoker-specific counseling resources available for people trying to quit, including in-person counseling from a healthcare provider, local support groups and state-by-state telephone quit-lines at 1-800-227-2345.

  • Cold Turkey - A better chance of quitting success if a person is trying to go "cold turkey," or quitting all at once, is to make a plan and prepare for nicotine withdrawal. This can be done by gradually smoking fewer cigarettes each day.

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One thing that is best to leave off the table when trying to quit is electronic cigarettes, the society said. E-cigarettes have not been approved by the FDA as aids to quit smoking and the long-term effects of e-cigarettes are not yet known.

The “Great American Smokeoff” is "an opportunity for people who smoke to commit to healthy, smoke-free lives – not just for a day, but year-round," the society said. 

"Smoking remains the single largest preventable cause of death and illness in the world and causes an estimated 480,000 deaths every year in the United States, or about 1 in 5 deaths."

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