INDIANAPOLIS -- In celebration of the American Cancer Society's 34th Great American Smoke Out today, Hoosiers across Putnam County are encouraged to "make the commitment and quit smoking today".
"With the holidays just around the corner, it's a great time for people to give the 'gift' of a better life to themselves and to their family and friends by quitting," said Meredith Williams, Director of Putnam County Tobacco Prevention and Cessation.
For the nearly one million smokers who want to quit in Indiana, help is available and there's no better time to quit than now, according to Williams.
The free Indiana Tobacco Quitline -- 1-800-QUIT-NOW -- is available from 7 a.m. until 3 a.m., seven days a week, 365 days a year to provide tips and counseling on how to quit for any Indiana resident 18 years and older.
"The quitline is staffed with professional 'quit' coaches, who are trained on helping people to quit using tobacco. It's a free resource and it's a great first step in treating what we know is a difficult addiction," added Williams.
According to the American Cancer Society, researchers indicate that quitting smoking can increase life expectancy. smokers who quit at age 35 gain an average of eight years of life expectancy; those who quit at age 55 gain about five years; and even long-term smokers who quit at 65 gain three years.
"What may be most surprising to most people are the effects of stopping smoking are almost immediate; a person's heart rate and blood pressure drop 20 minutes after quitting," explained Williams.
According to Williams, quitting smoking is critical to improving one's life at a time when tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the U.S.
"Whether you're trying to quit or even thinking about it, today is a great day to think about living a healthier life and it's a path you'll find is tough, but worthwhile for a lifetime," added Williams.