Thursday, November 18 marks the 44th Great American Smokeout, an opportunity for smokers to take the first step to quit smoking. It is estimated that seven out of 10 smokers would like to quit smoking. The Southern Nevada Health District has cessation resources and tools as well as information about alternative tobacco products and smoke-free living on its  Get Healthy Clark County website.

Whether someone is making a first or fifth attempt to quit smoking, the Great American Smokeout is the perfect “quit date” to commit to leading a healthier lifestyle by kicking the habit for at least one day with the hope that it leads to a permanent change.

Nevadans can contact the Nevada Tobacco Quitline at 1-800 QUIT NOW (1-800-784-8669) to access a free, phone-based service for anyone age 13 or older. The Quitline can also assist people who want to quit using vaping products. The Quitline is available in Spanish at 1-855-DÉJELO-YA (1-855-335-3569). Callers can access its services Monday through Sunday, from 4 a.m. – 10 p.m. (PT). Callers will work with a ‘coach’ who can provide quitting assistance and some people might be eligible to receive free supplies of nicotine replacement patches, gum or lozenges. Coaches can also provide information about dealing with stress and nicotine cravings as well as coping with weight gain and other issues that can occur for people who are trying to quit smoking.

“Quitting smoking is one of the best and most immediate ways to improve your health, “ said Dr. Fermin Leguen, District Health Officer. “Just 20 minutes after you put out your last cigarette, you start to experience health benefits as your heart rate drops back to normal. The health benefits keep improving from there.”

Three months after quitting, the risk of a heart attack drops; in one year, the added risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a smoker’s; in five to 15 years, the risk of a stroke is reduced to that of a nonsmoker’s; and 15 years after quitting, the risk of dying from lung cancer or bladder cancer is reduced to half of a smoker’s risk, and the risk of coronary heart disease is the same as a nonsmoker’s.

Quitting smoking might take more than one attempt. The American Cancer Society offers several tips to assist on it How To Quit Using Tobacco  webpage.

The Southern Nevada Health District serves as the local public health authority for Clark County, Boulder City, Henderson, Las Vegas, Mesquite and North Las Vegas. The agency safeguards the public health of the community’s residents and visitors through innovative programs, regulations, and initiatives focused on protecting and promoting their health and well-being. More information about the Health District, its programs, services, and the regulatory oversight it provides is available at www.SNHD.info. Follow the Health District on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.