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Today is the Great American Smoke Out, an annual event sponsored by the American Cancer Society that is held on the third Thursday of November. This social engineering event focuses on encouraging Americans to quit tobacco smoking. This year's theme is "Better starts today."


"The idea is to provide support to anybody who wants to quit smoking," said Tracy Taylor, Nurse Manager with Health Promotion Disease Prevention at the West Texas VA Health Care System.


"Of course, we're focused on our veterans, but there are a lot of great support tools to help us quit if we smoke. The thing is, it can take several times to quite smoking but acknowledging those efforts - whether it's 'I'm taking one less cigarette a day, or quitting all together' it's worth celebrating," said Taylor.


According to the American Cancer Society, more than 34 million Americans still smoke cigarettes, and smoking remains the single largest preventable cause of death and illness in the world. 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. 


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.

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