Take the first step to a smoke-free life with the Great American Smokeout, November 18

Quitting smoking isn’t easy. Regardless of the reason why one might start smoking or using tobacco products, the reasons for quitting (and actually quitting!) can be profound. If you are a current smoker interested in taking the first steps to quitting, you are encouraged to join the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout on November 18, 2021. The event, which takes place on the third Thursday of November each year, provides a unified opportunity for all smokers to start their journey toward quitting smoking and leading a smoke-free life.

The American Cancer Society states that “about 34 million American adults still smoke cigarettes, and smoking remains the single largest preventable cause of death and illness in the world. Smoking causes an estimated 480,000 deaths every year, or about 1 in 5 deaths.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has also posed significant risk to smokers. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), tobacco users have a 40-50% increased risk of developing severe illness or death from COVID. The WHO acknowledged this risk by developing a “Commit to Quit” campaign for tobacco users to try and combat these advanced risks from the pandemic and to help lead individuals to a smoke-free life.

If you are a current smoker or tobacco user that is interested in quitting, help is available. The University’s Comprehensive Medication Management program, available to all full- and part-time regular University faculty and staff with UPMC Health Plan coverage, provides smoking cessation guidance and resources at no-cost.

Those ready to begin a smoke-free life can get started by emailing quit_now@pitt.edu. The benefit provides the opportunity to meet with a pharmacist to receive counseling on smoking cessation and develop an action plan to help take better control of one’s health.

The decision to quit smoking is often difficult, but individuals do not have to take the journey alone. In addition to the Comprehensive Medication Management program at the University, the American Cancer Society also provides programs, resources, and support that can increase your chances of quitting smoking successfully.