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Lower your cancer risk: Kick the habit!
A potent mix
Innocent bystanders

5 ways to win the quitting game
5 ways to win the quitting game

  1. Don’t smoke a single cigarette of any kind, ever. Switching to a menthol, low-tar or low-nicotine cigarette won’t help you quit; it may even lead you to smoke more. Cutting down on the number of cigarettes you smoke also doesn’t work, according to the American Cancer Society.
  2. Write down why you want to quit and look at your list often. Really wanting to give up smoking is essential to quitting for good.
  3. Recognize that quitting will take effort. If you remember that it’s hard work, you may be better able to get through the withdrawal symptoms most smokers experience when they first quit.
  4. Consider that half of all adult smokers have stopped smoking—so you can, too! Millions of quitters have learned to live without smokes. Quitting is the best step you can take for your health and your future.
  5. Don’t go it alone. Find a self-help group or ask for assistance from your healthcare provider. The American Cancer Society has lots of helpful information at The American Lung Association offers a free program, Freedom from Smoking Online, at

First, the bad news: Lung cancer is the most common cause of cancer death for American adults—and smoking is to blame for at least 85 percent of all lung cancer deaths.

Now, the good news: If you give up smoking, your health will start to improve in just a few weeks. If you quit forever, your risk of lung cancer—and dozens of other diseases and cancers—will drop significantly in the next few years.

A potent mix

The main ingredient in cigarette smoke is nicotine, the substance smokers become addicted to. When you smoke, you also inhale poisonous gases, such as carbon monoxide, and more than 60 cancer-causing chemicals, including cyanide and benzene. No wonder smoking is dangerous!

Even before lung cancer appears, smokers often develop chronic bronchitis, which produces the familiar smoker’s cough, and emphysema, which slowly destroys the ability to breathe. Because these two conditions so commonly occur together, they’re often referred to collectively as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which leaves sufferers literally gasping for breath.

Innocent bystanders

Active “puffers” are not the only ones who suffer from smoking. Exhaled smoke and burning cigarettes create secondhand smoke. It, too, causes lung cancer when inhaled by even healthy nonsmokers. Children whose parents smoke are more likely to develop pneumonia, bronchitis, ear infections and asthma. What’s more, pregnant women who smoke increase their chances of miscarriage and stillbirth.

Despite these scary facts, there is some good news to be found: Since 1965, the number of adult smokers has been cut in half. And each year, more than half of all daily smokers try to quit. If you still smoke, isn’t it time you joined them?