The American Cancer Society marks the Great American Smokeout on the third Thursday of November each year by encouraging smokers to use the date to make a plan to quit, or to plan in advance and quit smoking that day. By quitting — even for one day — smokers will be taking an important step towards a healthier life – one that can lead to reducing cancer risk. Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States, accounting for 29% of all cancer deaths. Recognizing the dangers of tobacco use, many Georgians have made the decision to stop using tobacco or tobacco products. Georgia’s adult smoking rate dropped to 17.4 percent in 2014 from 18.8 percent in 2013. Even more significant, the smoking rate has dropped to 16.4 percent among young adults ages 18 to 24. However, more than 50,000 middle and high school students in Georgia say they use e-cigarettes and twice as many say they have tried them. “Electronic nicotine products go by many names, including “vapes,” “vape pens,” “e-hookah,” “e-cigarettes,” and are not safe for youth to use. Teens are trying these products in increasing numbers, despite the fact that they can lead to nicotine addiction, exposure to toxic chemicals, and stroke,” said Jean O’Connor, J.D., Dr.P.H., chronic disease prevention director for the Georgia Department of Public Health.

Emissions from electronic nicotine delivery products may include formaldehyde, propylene glycol, acetaldehyde, acrolein, lead, and tobacco-specific nitrosamines in addition to nicotine.

The Georgia Tobacco Quit Line offers free confidential counseling on how to quit smoking or any nicotine product or delivery system. They provide free counseling, a resource library, support and referral services for tobacco users. It is available for all Georgia residents age 13 or older. The Tobacco Quit Line is funded by the master tobacco settlement through the state’s Tobacco Use Prevention Section in partnership with the Georgia Cancer Coalition. It has no commercial bias and no products to promote. As a caller, you will receive free, professional support that’s tailored to your needs.

At the Quit Line, a counselor conducts an initial interview with a caller to determine tobacco usage and willingness to quit. An assessment is made based on the caller’s needs and multiple options are presented. Callers will receive a customized quit plan, including up to five additional counseling phone calls. Up-to-date information about physician- recommended pharmacological support, such as nicotine gum, nicotine patches, and other items are available. A Tobacco Quit Kit, including materials tailored to the caller’s readiness to quit is also available.

So stop smoking and start dialing: call the Tobacco Quit Line at 1-877-270-STOP.