american cancer society

When Giving Up Is a Good Thing

November 16, 2011 at 4:05 pm , by

I can still picture my mom walking around the house with a cigarette in her mouth getting ready in the mornings. She’d curl her hair and do her makeup with an ashtray on the counter. Everyone knew her as a smoker; her cigarettes were as much a part of her look as the signature blonde highlights in her long brown hair.

She picked up cigarettes when she was just 16, and she smoked for almost 30 years. Even as a kid, I knew she needed to quit. She’d tell me: “Even though Mommy smokes, you should never do it. It’s very, very bad for you.” I used to write her letters, begging her to put down cigarettes for good.

Five years ago this month, she finally did it.

Nicotine, the main chemical in cigarettes, is one of the most addictive substances there is. My mom struggled with cravings for an entire year afterward! But now, just the faintest smell of cigarettes disgusts her.

Being smoke-free is something to celebrate and that’s why tomorrow is such an exciting day. The Great American Smokeout, always one week before Thanksgiving, starts tomorrow and is an incentive for smokers to quit. The American Cancer Society hosts the  Smokeout every year, giving smokers the confidence and support to stop smoking–which is perfect timing considering November is also National Lung Cancer Awareness Month.

Tobacco use is the largest preventable cause of death in the United States, yet more than 46 million Americans still smoke. The benefits of quitting are immediate: Your circulation and blood pressure improve, and your risk of cancer decreases with every cigarette-free year. Read more