EFFINGHAM – HSHS St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital is encouraging everyone to commit or recommit to healthy, smoke-free lives by participating in the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout event on Nov. 21.

Cigarette smoking is the leading preventable cause of cancer death in the United States. Smoking causes an estimated 480,000 deaths every year, or about 1 in 5 deaths, and more than 16 million Americans live with a smoking-related disease. In fact, smoking cigarettes kills more Americans than alcohol, car accidents, HIV, guns and illegal drugs combined. Smoking not only causes cancer. It damages nearly every organ in the body, including the lungs, heart, blood vessels, reproductive organs, mouth, skin, eyes, and bones.

Addiction to nicotine in cigarettes is one of the strongest and most deadly addictions one can have. While cigarette smoking rates have dropped significantly, from 42% in 1965 to 14% in 2017, about 34.3 million American adults smoke cigarettes according to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC).

Quitting smoking improves health immediately and over the long term – at any age. Stopping smoking is hard, but you can increase your chances of success with help. Getting help through counseling and medications doubles or even triples your chances of quitting successfully.

Resources and support are available through the American Cancer Society at cancer.org/smokeout or by calling 1-800-227-2345. The Illinois Tobacco Quitline is a free resource for tobacco users who want to quit for good. Visit quityes.org or call 1-866-QUIT-YES (1-866-784-8937) for more information about quitting or to chat online with a nurse, respiratory therapist, or certified tobacco-treatment counselor. For additional smoking cessation resources, such as smoke-free apps, smoke-free texting programs and to build your own quit plan visit smokefree.gov.

“St. Anthony’s wants to help the people in our community to be healthy and happy,” said Lisa Hoelscher, outreach facilitator. “During this year’s Great American Smokeout event, we hope everyone will join us – and encourage their friends, family and colleagues to join us – in committing or recommitting to year-around, smoke-free lives.”

For more information about HSHS St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital, visit the hospital’s web site at stanthonyshospital.org. HSHS St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital is part of the Southern Illinois Division of Hospital Sisters Health System, which also includes HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in O’Fallon, HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital in Breese, HSHS Holy Family Hospital in Greenville and HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital in Highland.

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