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Quitters get ready; Smokeout is Nov. 15
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For 37 years, on the third Thursday of November, thousands of smokers try to put down their cigarettes, just for a day, in hope that this will be the start of a smoke-free future.

It is not an easy goal to accomplish. But for those who stick with it, the short and long-term benefits will give them a longer life and those extra years will be spent in better health.

Here's a timeline of how your body reacts when you quit:

- About 20 minutes after you quit smoking, your blood pressure goes down, your pulse rate slows and the temperature of your hands and feet increases.

- About 10 hours after you quit smoking, the carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal.

- About 48 hours after you quit smoking, nerve endings deadened by the habit have begun to regenerate and your sense of taste and smell has improved.

- Within the first few months after you quit smoking, your circulation has improved and your lungs have begun to function better. Your phlegm production has decreased and you won't find yourself coughing or wheezing as much.

- A year after you quit smoking, your risk of suffering coronary heart disease has decreased to half that of a continuing smoker.

- Five years after you quit smoking, your risk of getting cancer of the mouth, throat, or esophagus is half that of a continuing smoker.

- Ten years after you quit smoking, your risk of lung cancer is now half that of a continuing smoker.

- Fifteen years after you quit smoking, your risk of coronary heart disease is now comparable to that of a non-smoker.

There are so many good things that will happen to you when you quit smoking. Think of the money you will save and plan that special trip. You will not have to clean up cigarette butts. Your food will taste better. Your physical appearance will improve. You will have whiter teeth. Your breath, clothes, car, pets and home will smell fresh.

The Great American Smokeout has helped many people realize their dream of a smoke-free future. Contact these organizations for information on how to quit smoking:

- The Florida Quitline, 1-877-822-6669

- American Lung Association, 1-800 548-8252

- American Heart Association, 1-800-242-8721

- American Cancer Society, 1-800-227-2345

- Your local Gulfcoast North Area Health Center, 1-888-546-2432

For information about the Great American Smokeout visit

For information about the Tobacco Free Coalition of Pinellas County visit or call 824-6947.
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