Great American Smokeout Thursday

Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, and smokers who quit can expect to live an average of 10 years longer than smokers who don’t.

Kicking the habit can be difficult, but the American Cancer Society is trying to make the task easier. The organization recognizes the third Thursday of November as the Great American Smokeout. The 2013 Smokeout takes place tomorrow.

“A lot of people will set the New Year, as their resolution, to quit, so this would give somebody enough time to really plan good for it,” Marquette County Health Department health educator Sarah Derwin said. “We always tell people, when they’re planning to quit smoking, the best thing to do is talk to their doctor or physician.”

However, a great deal of progress has been made in the last 50 years. In 1965, more than 40% of American adults smoked. That figure is now about 20%. Smoking is also much less common among young people than it once was.

“A lot of them now will never see smoking in restaurants (or) bars,” Derwin said. “Even with some of our townships — Ely, Sands Township — they won’t even see smoking at parks and some outdoor areas.”

The American Cancer Society says nearly 450,000 Americans die every year from illnesses caused by tobacco use. If you’d like help in quitting, you can contact your local health department.