Today is the 41st annual Great American Smokeout – a one day campaign to motivate, encourage and support smokers in their efforts to quit.  The idea is to get them to quit for 24 hours to prove that they can do it.

Seven in 10 smokers want to quit smoking and many will take the challenge.  Last year nearly 20-million smokers tried to quit for the day…that’s about 40 percent of the nation’s 50-million plus smokers. 

Breast cancer used to be the biggest killer of women.  But now, the number one cause of cancer deaths among women and men today is lung cancer.  An estimated 158-thousand people die of lung cancer each year in the United States and when you include all smoking-related diseases like emphysema, chronic bronchitis and heart disease, that figure rises to 400-thousand each year.  That’s more than the number of Americans who died in World War II and nine times as many people who die in traffic accidents every year.

Tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the US, but nearly 1 in every 5 adults still smoke.

What about second-hand smoke?  Non-smokers are affected by exposure to other people’s smoking.  Studies reveal that children of smokers are more prone to lung problems and allergies than the children of non-smokers.  And they’re more inclined to start smoking themselves.

Mark Twain once said it's easy to give up smoking, "I've done it hundreds of times."  Quitting cold-turkey is the hardest way to quit, but the most effective and in the long run, the easiest way.