Great American Smoke Out

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(CNN)- Thursday is the Great American Smokeout,  the day that the American Cancer Society hopes will be the first smoke-free day for more smokers.

Quitting smoking can save your life. It reduces the risk for lung and other types of cancers as well. Carla Berg with Emory University says, “Cardiovascular disease, a lot of respiratory illnesses and in particular it also protects children from various second-hand smoke exposure related illnesses, such as asthma.”

But kicking the habit is no easy task. According to the surgeon general, nicotine may be as addictive as heroin or cocaine. Fortunately there are a variety of tools that can help people quit. Berg says, “Number one the quit lines, each state has a quit line. Other options for just behavioral support would be online tools such as those offered through American Lung Association, American Cancer Society and other groups.”

And there are other therapies. Berg says, “Whether it’s nicotine gum or lozenges or some of the other medications such as Zyban or Chantix.”

According to the American Cancer Society it takes the average smoker about three to five attempts before they can finally quit. But it’s worth the effort because 10 years after quitting, your risk of dying from lung cancer is about half that of a person who currently smokes.