From blockbuster Hollywood movies to action-packed video games to glossy magazine ads, cigarettes are seemingly everywhere. If you believe the storylines created around them, you’d think cigarette smokers are daring and glamorous.
The truth? It’s much less attractive.
Smoking cigarettes is still the leading cause of preventable and premature death in Idaho and across the U.S. Our state alone sees 1,800 adults die every year from smoking-related illnesses. Add to that the significant budget of $508 million spent annually on health care costs stemming from smoking.  Nothing about those numbers is attractive or exhilarating.
So, how do we help curb these numbers and work towards a smoke-free Idaho? Supporting smokers by helping provide access to resources for a tobacco-free lifestyle is a key step.
Because support can make all the difference in a task as difficult as breaking the addiction to nicotine, the American Cancer Society started the Great American Smokeout. This annual event occurs every third Thursday of November and is designed as a day for smokers to unite in quitting together.
Events like the Great American Smokeout are creating a movement that encourages smokers to look past their addiction and focus on the support and resources available to reach a healthier future. Even by quitting for a single day, smokers can take a step towards reducing the risks of diseases like cancer.
On a national level, reducing the smoking rate by even one percent has a significant impact. That one percent decline means an estimated 576,200 adults and 59,100 high school smokers will be saved from dying prematurely from smoking. This small reduction in smokers can lead to 735,000 children not becoming addicted adult smokers. 
In the first year alone, the U.S. stands to save $97.9 million from heart attack and stroke reductions. The savings for smoking-caused cancer are even larger, but it will take several years after the smoking decline for savings to accrue. 
With such dramatic life and healthcare cost savings from a one percent smoking rate decline, the evidence in support of eliminating smoking is hard to ignore. The health numbers, even in the short term, are in favor of a smoke-free future.
What exactly will happen when you quit smoking? You might be surprised how quickly your body will respond to the elimination of tobacco. Let’s look at a timeline.
Every cigarette you don’t smoke is doing you good. Imagine the health benefits if you never started to smoke cigarettes to begin with.
To find more resources to help you or someone you care about quit smoking, visit https://www.cancer.org/healthy/stay-away-from-tobacco/great-american-smokeout.html.
Relay For Life at Boise State University by Colleges Against Cancer is collecting signatures to help raise the age of tobacco sales from 18 to 21. Join them on the Boise State University Quad from 10 am – 2 pm on Thursday, November 16, 2017 to add your name.
 “The Toll of Tobacco in Idaho.” Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. October 6, 2017.
 “Benefits & Savings from Each One Percentage Point Decline in the USA Smoking Rates.” Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. January 20, 2016.