The Great American Smokeout
The American Cancer Society marks the Great American Smokeout on the third Thursday of November each year by encouraging smokers to use the date to make a plan to quit, or to plan in advance and quit smoking that day. By quitting — even for one day — smokers will be taking an important step towards a healthier life – one that can lead to reducing cancer risk.
Tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the US, yet about 42 million Americans still smoke cigarettes — a bit under 1 in every 5 adults. As of 2012, there were also 13.4 million cigar smokers in the US, and 2.3 million who smoke tobacco in pipes — other dangerous and addictive forms of tobacco.
The health benefits of quitting start immediately from the moment of smoking cessation. Quitting while you are younger will reduce your health risks more, but quitting at any age can give back years of life that would be lost by continuing to smoke.
When smokers quit, what are the benefits over time?
20 minutes after quitting
Your heart rate and blood pressure drop.
(Effect of smoking on arterial stiffness and pulse pressure amplification, Mahmud A, Feely J. Hypertension. 2003:41:183)
12 hours after quitting
The carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal.
(US Surgeon General’s Report, 1988, p. 202)
2 weeks to 3 months after quitting
Your circulation improves and your lung function increases.
(US Surgeon General’s Report, 1990, pp.193, 194,196, 285, 323)
1 to 9 months after quittingUS Surgeon General’s Report, 1990, pp. 285-287, 304)
1 year after quitting
The excess risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a continuing smoker’s.
(US Surgeon General’s Report, 2010, p. 359)
5 years after quitting
Risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, and bladder are cut in half. Cervical cancer risk falls to that of a non-smoker. Stroke risk can fall to that of a non-smoker after 2-5 years.
(A Report of the Surgeon General: How Tobacco Smoke Causes Disease – The Biology and Behavioral Basis for Smoking-Attributable Disease Fact Sheet, 2010; and Tobacco Control: Reversal of Risk After Quitting Smoking. IARC Handbooks of Cancer Prevention, Vol. 11. 2007, p 341)
10 years after quitting
The risk of dying from lung cancer is about half that of a person who is still smoking. The risk of cancer of the larynx (voice box) and pancreas decreases.
(A Report of the Surgeon General: How Tobacco Smoke Causes Disease – The Biology and Behavioral Basis for Smoking-Attributable Disease Fact Sheet, 2010; and US Surgeon General’s Report, 1990, pp. vi, 155, 165)
15 years after quitting
The risk of coronary heart disease is that of a non-smoker’s.