AUBURN, AL (WTVM) - Tobacco use is the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the nation, yet 42 million Americans - one in every five adults - still smokes.
Several organizations around the U.S. are challenging people to quit, including some experts in east Alabama.
Approximately 4,500 new cases of lung cancer were diagnosed in Alabama in 2012 and more than 3,000 deaths in the same year were attributed to the disease.
Thursday, Nov. 20, is the Great American Smokeout, where for 44 years smokers nationwide have been challenged with avoiding the habit for the day.
"A lot of people who don't quit, really want to quit, they just don't think about it too much. Maybe this would be good encouragement for them to reconsider," says Earnest Golden, East Alabama Medical Center (EAMC) Respiratory Therapist.
According to Golden, our lungs start decreasing their ability at 20 years old, and statistics show that even quitting for 24 hours can drastically improve your health
The EAMC offers Freedom from Tobacco, a program of individual coaching sessions. They're urging smokers to participate in Thursday's Great American Smokeout.