The Great American Smokeout – November 17, 2016

cigarette-1642232_1280Lung cancer accounts for more deaths than any other cancer in both men and women. According to the American Cancer Society, every year smoking is the cause of 32% of all cancer deaths, including 83% of all lung cancer deaths.  November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month, with November 17th being The Great American Smokeout Day. 

Did You Know?

It all began in 1970. The idea for The Great American Smokeout grew from an event organized by Mr. Arthur P. Mullaney of Randolph, Massachusetts who asked smokers to give up cigarettes for a day and donate the money they would have spent on cigarettes to a high school scholarship fund. Then in 1974, Lynn R. Smith, editor of the Monticello Times in Minnesota, spearheaded the state’s first D-Day, or Don’t Smoke Day.  And, in 1977, California’s division of the American Cancer Society got nearly one million smokers to quit smoking for a day. That California event marked the first Smokeout, with the American Cancer Society then launching their signature event nationwide. It has become, what is now known, as The Great American Smokeout.

Most Are Not Immune

Anyone who starts using tobacco can become addicted to nicotine.  Smoking is most likely to become a habit during the teen years. The younger the person is, the more likely they will become addicted. According to the U.S. Surgeon General’s report of 2014, nearly 9 out of 10 smokers started smoking before the age of 18.

Nicotine and other chemicals in tobacco smoke are absorbed into the blood through the lungs. From there, it quickly spreads throughout the body.  Small amounts of nicotine manifests pleasant feelings, thus making the smoker crave more. Nicotine reaches the brain within seconds after the first puff.  However, that pleasant “high” only lasts a few minutes and then begins to wear off.  The smoker may then become irritated and edgy becoming more uncomfortable over time. The need to  “light up again” happens quickly to achieve the pleasant effects of nicotine.

Once a smoker becomes addicted, they can suffer mental and physical withdrawal symptoms when trying to quit.  These symptoms include headaches, trouble sleeping, irritability and nervousness.

Cigars Are No Substitute

Some smokers may feel they are better off smoking cigars than cigarettes.  But, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), cigar smokers, who inhale, get nicotine into their lungs just as quickly as cigarette smokers. However, for those who don’t inhale, the nicotine is still absorbed, through the lining of the mouth, which occurs more slowly. This gives cigar smokers the same desired dose of nicotine, albeit, more slowly without inhaling.  

We Are Here To Help

There are various methods available to smokers who need help breaking the nicotine habit.

There is also the prescription drug, Chantix. Chantix (varenicline), which is a smoking cessation medicine, is used in conjunction with behavior modification and counseling support, to help smokers stop smoking, once and for all. At DeRosa Medical, any one of our providers would welcome the opportunity to help a smoker KICK the habit and are available to discuss options today. And, while it can be one of the hardest habits to break, join us on The Great American Smokeout Day and let us help YOU become a nonsmoker in the 2017.

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