Smoking-related diseases claim the lives of 430,700 Americans each year; of these 430,700 Americans, 45,000 are Black. African Americans continue to suffer disproportionately from chronic and preventable diseases compared to White Americans.
Of the three leading causes of death in African Americans — heart disease, cancer, and stroke — smoking and other tobacco use are major contributors to these illnesses. According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention), if current patterns continue, an estimated 1.6 million African Americans who are now under the age of 18 will become regular smokers. About 500,000 of those smokers will die of a smoking-related disease.
If you are a smoker, it’s time to quit. If you’re not a smoker, but you know someone who is, it’s time to urge him or her to quit. It won’t be easy. If it were, you probably would have already quit or convinced your loved one to do so. The difficulties of quitting this lethal habit are minimal in comparison to the health benefits. Use the following guidelines as a starting point to help you convert from smoker to nonsmoker:
1) Get mentally prepared. Think long and hard about all of the benefits of quitting. Imagine being free from the health risks, feeling fresh and having extra money to spend. Use these thoughts to gain motivation and confidence.