Great American Smokeout: Quit Now, See Benefits in 20 Minutes

Nov 15, 2012, 11:00 AM


Today is the Great American Smokeout, set up 37 years ago by the American Cancer Society to help smokers quit. The day, always the Thursday before Thanksgiving, is meant to be a prompt to set a "quit day" to make a give up smoking. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has some compelling numbers on why it’s never too late to quit:

  • Twenty minutes after a smoker quits, their heart rate drops.
  • Twelve hours after quitting, the carbon monoxide levels in a smoker’s blood drops to normal. 
  • As early as two weeks after quitting, a smoker’s heart attack risk begins to drop and their lung function begins to improve.
  • Three weeks after quitting, the physical symptoms of nicotine addiction stop.
  • As early as one month after quitting, former smokers can notice less coughing and shortness of breath.

Trained smoking cessation coaches are standing by to help smokers today—and every day:

>>Bonus: The American Cancer Society and George Washington University are sponsoring online surveys about quitting smoking, and selected participants can get $50 in Amazon gift cards if they complete all the surveys.

This commentary originally appeared on the RWJF New Public Health blog.