Thursday, November 19 is the Great American Smoke Out

American Cancer Society and NYS Smoker’s Quitline: 2020 Provides Added Risk for Smokers and Increased Incentive For New Yorkers To Quit Smoking

Thursday, November 19 is the Great American Smoke Out


New York, NY (November 16, 2020) -- As the American Cancer Society prepares for the 45th annual Great American Smokeout, New Yorkers who smoke are faced with added health risks in 2020, as well as new opportunities to create a healthier life this year.

              Tobacco use continues to be the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, accounting for about 30% of all cancer deaths. However, smokers who statistically are at great risk for many cancers, as well as heart and lung disease, now have an added vulnerability to COVID-19 related illnesses, according to LaToya Williams of the American Cancer Society. Williams refers to revisions* presented on November 2, 2020 by the CDC, which provides evidence to suggest that smoking tobacco increases risk from the virus that causes COVID-19.

              Quitting smoking isn’t easy. It takes time. It takes a plan. And the American Cancer Society is here to help. Partnering with the New York State Smoker’s Quitline, the Society is proud to announce that New York residents are now eligible for a FREE 3-month supply of nicotine replacement gum.

              The Quitline is offering up to three months of free nicotine gum, while supplies last. Smokers and vapers can apply to receive the free gum by calling 1-866-NY-QUITS (1-866-697-8487) or visiting nysmokefree.com. The limited time offer is made possible thanks to a generous donation from Ro, a U.S. telehealth company headquartered in Manhattan. In addition to the free supply of gum, the Quitline also provides one-on-one coaching from specially trained Quit Coaches, which further supports the quit process.

              Each year, more than 55% of the 34 million people who smoke in the U.S. try to quit. However, only about 1.2 million (7.4%) who try to quit succeed each year, in part because of lack of access to cessation resources and support. While quitting smoking can be difficult, people can increase their chances of success if they have a plan including nicotine replacement therapy or other FDA-approved medications and counseling.   “Quitting is a journey,” explained Williams. “With the right support, you can do it; the American Cancer Society and The New York State Quitline can help.”

              For this year's 45th Great American Smokeout on Thursday, November 19, 2020, the American Cancer Society (ACS) is reminding people who smoke to use this as a day to make a plan to commit to a tobacco- and smoke-free life year-round. Since 1976, the American Cancer Society has hosted the Great American Smokeout as a public awareness event to encourage people to quit smoking. It is held annually on the third Thursday of November. While fewer people are smoking cigarettes and smoking rates have drastically dropped in the U.S. during the past several decades, there are still an estimated 34.2 million people in the U.S. who smoke.

Who is smoking?

              Tobacco use and the resulting health issues persist in many populations based on education, socioeconomic status, race/ethnicity, LGBTQ community, those with mental illness, in the military and in certain geographic areas, according to the American Cancer Society.      

              These populations tend to be those who experience inequities in multiple areas of their lives and can affect the choices a person makes, but more importantly can affect a person's opportunity to be as healthy as possible. Addressing these disparities will require engaging community members and cross-sector partners such as corporate partners, community-based organizations (e.g., faith-based organizations), community leaders, investors and funders, academic institutions, health systems, and government.

              Smoking rates in the U.S. have declined from 42% in 1965 to 13.7% in 2018, but the gains are inconsistent, and some groups continue to smoke and smoke more heavily than others.

              The American Cancer Society is here to provide support to help people who smoke quit smoking for good. For more information, to connect to a free telephone Quitline, or to access resources to help plan to quit, visit cancer.org.

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* www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/people-with-medical-conditions.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fcoronavirus%2F2019-ncov%2Fneed-extra-precautions%2Fgroups-at-higher-risk.html


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