Reminder: Great American Smokeout is Thursday
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[November 15, 2008]
SPRINGFIELD -- In anticipation
of the 33rd annual Great American Smokeout on Thursday, the American
Cancer Society is reminding smokers that there has never been a
better time to quit. Tobacco use remains the single largest
preventable cause of cancer and premature death in the United
"With the proven health risks and increased costs of smoking --
along with Illinois' year-old smoke-free law -- there have never
been more compelling reasons to quit," said Dr. Mary Maryland,
president of the American Cancer Society's Illinois Division. "The
Great American Smokeout is a great time to start."
The society's volunteers, staff and partners are reaching out to let
people know that smoking is deadly -- even to nonsmokers. Several
dozen community and corporate Great American Smokeout events are
scheduled statewide to share healthful tips with hundreds of
thousands of people on the best ways to stop smoking.
Cancer Society has free "Quit Kits" and helpful information for
individuals wanting to kick the habit. For information about
presentations or materials throughout the year, contact Joe Blasko
at the American Cancer Society's Springfield office at 217-523-4503.
Individuals may also visit www.cancer.org for tips and useful tools
to become a quitter for good.
Smoking is an expensive habit, so quitting is not only good for a
person's health, but also for their budget. Smokers nationwide now
face an average cost of $4.32 for one pack of cigarettes, not
including all taxes. Plus, most smokers can expect higher health and
life insurance premiums and paying for increased doctor visits over
Smoking also has an economic impact on Illinois. According to the
Illinois Department of Public Health, cigarette smoking is estimated
to cost the state nearly $3.2 billion each year for
smoking-attributed health care costs and $4.2 billion in costs due
to lost productivity.
After years of decline, the smoking rate appears to have stalled
among adults and high school students in Illinois. In Illinois,
approximately 20.5 percent of adults are smokers, slightly less than
the national average. According to the National Interview Survey, 51
percent of smokers have attempted to quit smoking, but only five to
10 percent are successful on any given attempt.
"With cold weather upon us, the timing of the Great American
Smokeout could be just what the doctor ordered for someone who
doesn't want to smoke outdoors," Dr. Maryland said.
Smokers who want to quit to are urged to call the American Cancer
Society at 1-800-ACS-2345 or log on to
www.cancer.org/greatamericans, where they can develop a
personalized cessation plan. The site features a series of desktop
helpers, including a "Quit Clock" and a "Craving Stopper," to help
smokers pick a quit day, prepare for quitting and get support along
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Similarly, the society is actively working with schools in many
parts of the state to encourage students to stop smoking, or to
never start. In 2006, the Illinois smoking rate for youth was 20.2
The society predicts that in the next several years, the smoking
rate in Illinois should drop significantly due to anti-smoking
education, increased taxes on tobacco products and smoke-free
workplaces. The society's goal is for a 25 percent smoking decrease
over five years, from 22 percent of the population to 17 percent by
the year 2010.
For more information, visit
The American Cancer Society is dedicated to eliminating cancer as
a major health problem by saving lives, diminishing suffering and
preventing cancer through research, education, advocacy and service.
The Illinois Division has more than 120,000 volunteers and staff
fighting cancer in the state. For the most up-to-date cancer-related
information and to join the fight against cancer, call
1-800-ACS-2345, or visit
[Text from file received from the
American Cancer Society,