American Cancer Society: Quitting smoking for even one day regains lost years

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(WTVY) -- Put down that cigarette and join the Great American Smokeout Thursday, November 16th.

Since the 1970s, the American Cancer Society dedicated a day to kick the habit.

"I think we need a reminder to quit,” said Jeff Drope with the American Cancer Society. “I think people often have it in the back of their minds but it's really nice to get a push."

According to the American Cancer Society, about 36.5 million people in the U.S. still smoke, but stopping can be tough.

"For most people, they really need to make a plan and they need support,” Drope said. “So it's very important that they think through how they are going to quit and follow through with that."

Smoking is associated with at least 12 cancers, and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention it kills 480,000 people in the U.S. every year.

Experts at the Cancer Society say quitting, even for one day, helps your health.

"If you quit before the age of 35 you can gain most of the life years lost from smoking tobacco products so you're looking on an average of a ten year loss and you can gain nine of those years back if you quit,” Drope said. “Even if you're older, you can still gain life years back. So there is a motivation to quit even well into your elderly years."

If you or a loved one need help to quit smoking, visit the American Cancer Society’s website. There you’ll find tips as well as the number for a 24-hour hotline.