Ready to quit? You're not alone. Join others in kicking the habit during the Great American Smokeout, and begin your life tobacco-free. The Great American Smokeout, held each November, encourages smokers to quit for at least one day with the goal of quitting for good.
The Great American Smokeout became a national event in 1977, highlighting the dangers of tobacco use and the challenges users face when quitting. In 1978, approximately 34 percent of adults smoked. Today, only about 21 percent of adults are smokers. Also, many local and state laws support protecting the health of citizens through comprehensive smoking bans in many places. Most Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi underwritten and individual benefit plans include tobacco-cessation treatment, as do many benefit plans funded by the federal government. Despite our progress, more than 46 million U.S. adults are smokers and 40 percent of non-smokers are exposed to secondhand smoke. It’s estimated that 443,000 deaths each year are related to smoking and secondhand smoke.
Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi is committed to helping our members kick the tobacco habit for good. Our “be smoke-free” Program provides members with the resources to quit tobacco, including office visits with a “be smoke-free” Network Provider, access to the tobacco quitline and 90 days of tobacco cessation medication. We offer our support and services to businesses that choose to be tobacco-free and in July 2011, all Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Network Hospitals became tobacco-free.
If you use tobacco and would like to quit, there are many resources available to help. One of the first things you can do is to make a list of the reasons you would like to quit. Maybe you’re tired of paying the price for an unhealthy habit or you want more energy and stamina to do the things you enjoy. This can be one of the most important decisions you make and the health benefits are immediate. Here is what you can expect when you make the decision to be tobacco-free:
After 20 minutes – Blood pressure drops to the level before your last cigarette and the temperature of your hands and feet returns to normal.
After 24 hours – Your chance of a heart attack decreases.
After 1-9 months – Coughing, sinus congestion, fatigue and shortness of breath decrease; cilia regain normal function in the lungs increasing the ability to handle mucus, clean the lungs and reduce infection.
After 1 year – Your chance of having a heart attack is cut in half.
After 5 years – Stroke risk is reduced to that of a non-smoker (5-15 years after quitting).
After 15 years – Risk of coronary disease is that of a non-smoker.
Are you ready to be quitter? You can start by visiting the "be tobacco-free" section of our website where you will find many resources to help you be tobacco-free. Then, take advantage of the Great American Smokeout, and quit for at least one day. Making the choice to quit is the right step for a healthy you and a healthy future.