Michiganders urged to quit tobacco during Great American Smokeout

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FILE – This May 17, 2018 file photo shows packs of menthol cigarettes and other tobacco products at a store in San Francisco. On Thursday, May 15, 2018, FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb pledged to ban menthol from cigarettes, in what could be a major step to further push down U.S. smoking rates. (AP Photo/Jeff […]

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is encouraging Michiganders to commit or recommit to healthy, smoke-free lives by participating in the American Cancer Society’s 43rd Great American Smokeout event today.

“The most important thing smokers can do to improve their health is to quit smoking cigarettes and using other forms of tobacco,” said Nick Lyon, MDHHS director. “Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States, accounting for 29 percent of all cancer deaths.”

According to a MDHHS press release, smoking cigarettes kills more Americans than alcohol, car accidents, HIV, guns and illegal drugs combined. Smoking not only causes cancer. It damages nearly every organ in the body, including the lungs, heart, blood vessels, reproductive organs, mouth, skin, eyes and bones.

About 37.8 million Americans smoke cigarettes and according to the 2016 Michigan Behavioral Risk Factor Survey, 20.4 percent of adults in the state are smokers. Nationwide cigarette smoking rates have dropped from 42 percent in 1965 to 15.5 percent in 2016.

Each year, approximately 20 million American smokers try to quit, representing more than half of the 37.8 million smokers in the U.S., only about 1.4 million or 7 percent succeed. An even greater percentage of smokers (68 percent) report being interested in quitting.

Quitting tobacco takes commitment and starts with a plan; often taking more than one quit attempt and requiring support. Getting help through counseling and/or prescription medications can double or triple your chances of quitting successfully. Smoking cessation programs, telephone quit lines, the American Cancer Society’s Freshstart program, Nicotine Anonymous meetings, self-help materials such as books and pamphlets and smoking counselors or coaches can be a great help.

The Michigan Tobacco Quitline – 800-QUIT-NOW (800-784-8669) – is available to help residents 24 hours a day, seven days a week. For more information about the Quitline, visit Michigan.gov/tobacco.

In addition, the American Cancer Society is available to provide support as people make their plan to quit at Cancer.org/smokeout or by calling 800-227-2345.

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