A Deadly Mix, Especially for Black Males

Millions of people play the lottery. They walk into a grocery store, buy a ticket and wait for someone to announce the winning numbers. Millions of people also smoke–one in five American adults to be exact.

They walk into a grocery store and buy a pack of cigarettes. But with the cigarettes, there are no winning numbers. In fact, according to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), these are the “losing” numbers:

People who quit smoking, regardless of age, live longer than people who continue to smoke.

– 1 in 2 lifetime smokers will die from their habit.

– Cigarette smoking remains the leading preventable cause of death in the United States, causing an estimated 438,000 deaths–or about 1 out of every 5 deaths–each year.

– Smoking reduces life expectancy by 14 years.

– Men who smoke are 10 times more likely to die from lung cancer than non-smokers.

– African-American men are more likely to die (93.1 out of 100,000 men each year) from lung cancer than any other racial and ethnic group.

November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month. With all the cessation resources available and the smoke-free laws in place across the country, there has never been a better time to quit smoking and enjoy the many health benefits.

People who quit smoking, regardless of age, live longer than people who continue to smoke. Quitting also substantially decreases the risk of lung, laryngeal, esophageal, oral, pancreatic, bladder, and cervical cancers.

It also reduces your risk of various cardiovascular diseases–including a heart attack–and lung diseases like emphysema.

Here are some things you can do to get started:

Visit www.Cancer.gov/Tobacco –You can read the popular NCI fact sheet, Why Quit and How to Get Help. You can learn more about how to do everyday things–handle stress, drive a car, drink or eat–without a cigarette in hand or about the strategies that really work.

The information you’ll find on this site will help you make an informed decision about the best smoking cessation strategy for you.

Call NCI’s Smoking Quit-line (1-877-44U-QUIT)—Smoking cessation counselors are available to answer smoking-related questions in English or Spanish, Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. local time. Call toll free in the United States, 1-877-44U-QUIT (1-877-448-7848). This call is confidential and free.

Visit www.SmokeFree.gov. There you’ll find an online guide you can use for the first smoke-free days and the first year. You can talk to a counselor who can help, by phone or instant message, and order evidence-based print materials that have helped other smokers quit.

And you can search for clinical trials across the country that may be testing smoking cessation programs.

Tobacco use is the single largest cause of preventable death in the United States, but knowledge about the health consequences of tobacco is not evenly distributed.

This November, visit www.cancer.gov or call 1-800-4CANCER to learn about the dangers of smoking and how to quit. Learn the facts and change your odds for life.

The National Cancer Institute is the nation’s leading federal agency for cancer research. For more information about cancer research and resources, visit www.cancer.gov or call toll-free 1-800-4CANCER.