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The Great American Smokeout begins Nov. 16th

P lan to Quit Smoking for the Great American Smokeout, Nov. 16 Triumph over smoking and encourage loved ones to quit for the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout on Nov. 16.

Though not easily apparent, damage from smoking may not manifest itself for years. There are many reasons why smokers fail to quit. One of them is that subconsciously, they don’t want to; they just aren’t ready.

“One of the most important things to remember is that you need to ‘want to quit,’” says pulmonologist Lazaro O. Bravo Jr., M.D. “Most patients attempt to quit for different reasons such as a spouse wanting them to or kids or because a physician says it’s unhealthy, but those ultimately fail.”

As we grow older, we naturally lose lung function. For a smoker, the loss of lung function is three to four times that of a nonsmoker. If you choose to quit smoking today, it may take as long as seven years for the loss of lung function to be that of a non-smoker and some of the damage sustained during your “smoking years” may never be recoverable.

Dr. Bravo’s Tips to Quit Smoking:

1 You have to be honest with yourself, and commit to quitting. Stop justifying your reasons not to quit.

2 There is no such thing as slowly cutting back or socially smoking. Pick a date, and at that time throw away your cigarettes.

3 Get help. Take a multidisciplinary approach to quitting. Refer to the “Here’s help!” box on the right.

4 Seek support and cooperation from family and friends. Trying to quit around a smoker is difficult, at best.

5 Don’t place yourself in situations where smoking is “acceptable.”

Here’s help! Call 1-877-822-6669.

The Florida Department of Health’s Tobacco Free Florida program, Quit Your Way, offers tobacco users interested in quitting access to free tools, including a 2-Week Starter Kit of nicotine replacement patches, Text2Quit, email tips, and a Quit Guide. Tobacco Free Florida’s services have already helped more than 137,000 Floridians successfully quit. For more information, visit

Tags: Pulmonology, smoking, smoking cessation, lung disease, COPD