By Margaret Reid

Today, November 15, is the 37th Great American Smokeout

The Great American Smokeout is a day to recognize that while 45 million adults in the United States still smoke, more than half of them are actively trying to quit – and there are a lot of resources out there to help.

In Massachusetts, where virtually all residents are covered by insurance, public and private insurances have benefits to help with quitting smoking. Find out what your insurance covers here  Any resident can call the free Massachusetts Smokers’ Helpline at  1-800-QuitNow (1-800-784-8669) and receive telephone coaching and support. For Spanish, call 1-800-8-Déjalo (1-800-833-5256). There are also on-line resources available here

Tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the US, and its impact goes far beyond individual smokers.

According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in children, secondhand smoke causes ear infections, more frequent and severe asthma attacks, respiratory symptoms (e.g., coughing, sneezing, shortness of breath), respiratory infections (i.e., bronchitis, pneumonia), and it puts infants at greater risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Secondhand smoke can even cause heart and lung disease among adults who have never smoked. Learn more here

The good news is the body starts to heal immediately after the last cigarette.

Today is a great day to start quitting, and there are plenty of resources to help!

Margaret is a registered nurse and the director of our Division of Healthy Homes and Community Supports.