Thursday is the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout (GASO), a day to commit to being tobacco free.
The GASO encourages smokers to make a plan to quit, or to plan in advance and quit smoking that day.
By quitting, smokers will be taking an important step toward improving their health and reducing their risk of cancer and other chronic diseases.
The number of Indiana adults who smoke has fallen since 2011, but more than 1 million Indiana adults, or 20.6 percent of the adult population, still use tobacco, putting them at risk of cancer and chronic disease.
“One of the best things someone can do to improve their health is to quit tobacco use,” said State Health Commissioner Jerome Adams, M.D., M.P.H. “When you quit smoking, not only do you decrease your risk of cancer and heart disease, but you improve the health of everyone in your home, including unborn babies.”
Smoking accounts for at least 30 percent of all cancer deaths, including the large majority of lung cancer deaths in both men and women.
Lung cancer is the leading cause of preventable and premature cancer deaths in the United States and Indiana.
According to the Indiana State Cancer Registry, in 2014, 5,204 Hoosiers were diagnosed with cancer of the lungs or bronchus. More than 4,000 people who had lung cancer died that year.
Smoking also causes other chronic diseases, including stroke, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
The impact of smoking is devastating, both for those affected by disease and their loved ones.
To illustrate this point, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) launched its Tips from Former Smokers public service campaign, which profiles people who are living with serious, long-term health effects from smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke.
According to the U.S. Surgeon General’s report “The Health Consequences of Smoking – 50 Years of Progress,” smoking rates have decreased significantly since 1964.
According to the report, while today’s smokers smoke fewer cigarettes than those 50 years ago, they are at higher risk of developing lung cancer.
Changes in the design and composition of cigarettes since the 1950s have increased the risk of adenocarcinoma of the lung, the most common type of lung cancer.
Hoosiers can receive free help in quitting tobacco by calling 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) or visiting www.QuitNowIndiana.com.
To learn more about lung cancer in Indiana and what you can do to lower your risk, refer to the Indiana Cancer Facts and Figures report on the Indiana Cancer Consortium website, here.
To learn more about the Great American Smokeout, visit the American Cancer Society website, here.
Join the conversation on Twitter by using the hashtag #GASO.
Visit the Indiana State Department of Health, here for important health and safety information.