Nebraska smokers are being urged to try and quit just for today as part of the 40th annual Great American Smokeout, in hopes they may be able to quit for a week, for a month, and for good.
Brian Ortner, a spokesman for the American Cancer Society, says giving up cigarettes and other tobacco products can bring almost immediate results, in addition to the long-term improvements in health.
“Within 20 minutes, there’s benefits to their body,” Ortner says. “Their heart rate and their blood pressure drop, which is a great thing and it keeps going as you continue without that cigarette or that tobacco, the positives that happen.”
It’s often helpful for smokers to tell those around them they’re trying to quit but he says the important thing is to make an effort.
Ortner says, “One of the keys to quitting the habit of smoking tobacco or even chewing tobacco is finding a date or making a plan that fits your need.”
If today isn’t “the” day, he suggests setting a date to quit and sticking to it. Ortner says he quit on Christmas Eve nine years ago and remains a non-smoker.
The Smokeout effort began as a statewide initiative in California in 1976 and went nationwide the following year and Ortner says we’ve seen four decades of progress.
“There’s been dramatic changes, obviously, in the way the public views tobacco advertising and its use,” Ortner says. “Now, many places are smoke-free because of the efforts of this campaign and others across the country.”
Lung cancer is Nebraska’s top cancer killer. There were more than 1,200 new lung cancer cases diagnosed in Nebraska last year and nearly 900 deaths.