Make plans to quit smoking for Great American Smokeout

smokeoutToday, Nov. 21, is the Great American Smokeout and the perfect day to quit smoking.

The American Cancer Society marks the Great American Smokeout on the third Thursday of November each year by encouraging smokers to use the date to make a plan to quit, or to plan in advance and quit smoking that day. By quitting — even for a day — smokers will be taking an important step towards a healthier life.


Free help to quit smoking

The Anne Arundel County Department of Health Learn to Live program is celebrating with free resources to help parents and teens quite smoking. The program offers the following free self-help information:

  • Quit-Smoking Kit: Easy-to-use steps for quitting and staying smoke-free. Available for adults in English and Spanish.
  • Power to Quit Smoking Kit: Easy-to-use guide encouraging African-Americans to stop smoking.
  • I Quit: A fun and interactive online program that helps teens kick the habit. Go to

The kits can be requested from the Learn To Live Line, 410-222-7979, or from the Spanish Language Line, 410-222-4479. They can also be ordered or downloaded at The Web page includes information on other free resources including local smoking cessation classes and the Maryland Quitline 24/7 phone and text services.ZombiSmokeout

The American Cancer Society also has created a Zombie Smokeout Mobile Game that could help keep hands busy when the urge to smoke strikes. The action-packed game can distract and entertain to help get you past your craving.

The health benefits of quitting start immediately, according to the American Cancer Society. Quitting while you are younger reduces the health risks more, but quitting at any age can give back years of life that would be lost by smoking.

Why quit smoking?

Here are some facts about the health benefits of quitting from the American Cancer Society:

  • After just 20 minutes of not smoking, your heart rate and blood pressure drop.
  • After 12 hours, the carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal.
  • Between 2 weeks and three months, your circulation improves and your lung function increases.
  • Between 1 and 9 months, coughing and shortness of breath decrease; cilia start to regain normal function in the lungs, increasing the ability to handle mucus, clean the lungs and reduce the risk of infection.
  • By 1 year, the excess risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a continuing smokers's.
  • By 5 years, risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus and bladder are cut in half. Cervical cancer risk and risk of stroke fall to that of a non-smoker.
  • By 10 years, the risk of dying from lung cancer is about half that of a person who is still smoking.
  • By 15 years, the risk of coronary heart disease is that of a non-smoker's.

For details visit the American Cancer Society website.

 Concerned about risky behavior in teens? Check out a recent report on drug and alcohol use in Anne Arundel County.