Smokers Encouraged to Quit for One Day During ‘Great American Smokeout’

As if there’s a bad time to quit smoking, winter is probably a good motivator—that way you don’t have to take your smoke breaks in the freezing cold. But many who have tried to quit know that it can be a challenge. That’s the goal behind the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout Thursday.

Darcy Ellefson, respiratory therapist with Sanford Health, says from the time we’re born our lungs are exposed to pollutants every day. She says it doesn’t take long to do damage to our lungs, but smoking escalates the damage. Ellefson says unhealthy lungs are black colored from tar, and your risk of lung cancer increases. She says lung cancer kills more people than breast, prostate, and colon cancers combined.

The Great American Smokeout is focused on preventing lung cancer and getting people screened. The American Cancer Society also offers Quit Kits to help smokers knock the habit. Ellefson says although The Great American Smokeout is for just one day, she says the hope is that it will encourage people to quit for life. Anyone between 55 and 75 years old, you can get a free lung cancer screening– just ask your doctor. Quit Kits are available year-round at the Prairie Freedom Center and Health Connect.