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Take action now to quit smoking

November 19, 2020

Every third Thursday in November, the Great American Smokeout event encourages people who smoke to take an important step toward a heathier life and reducing their cancer risk. If you smoke, use this opportunity to start your journey on November 19 toward a smoke-free life, along with thousands of other Americans.

The U.S. Surgeon General has said, "One of the most important actions people can take to improve their health is to quit smoking. This is true regardless of age or how long they've been smoking. Quitting smoking can be difficult, but there are proven treatments and strategies to help people successfully quit smoking."1

Some very encouraging ways your health improves

After you've quit smoking for 12 hours, the carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal. Two weeks to three months later, your circulation improves and your lung function increases. Check out other positive effects on your health after you stop smoking.2

November is also Lung Cancer Awareness Month and National COPD Awareness Month, which focus on raising community awareness of these diseases and the need for more research. While a number of factors can contribute to one developing lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), smoking is the leading cause. Quitting smoking greatly reduces your risk of developing either disease.1

Resources to help you quit

You can improve your chances of success with a good plan and support.

  • Contact the American Cancer Society to learn about steps you can take to quit smoking and help you find smoking cessation programs, resources, and support that can increase your chances of quitting successfully. Call them at 800-227-2345 or reach them by live chat.
  • Read What You Need to Know about Quitting Smoking – Advice from the Surgeon General. Learn about the different ways quitting smoking improves your health, including lowering your risk of 12 types of cancer and reducing the risk of coronary heart disease and stroke. The report also includes tools and resources to quit smoking.
  • Receive reimbursement for tobacco cessation counseling. UniCare covers counseling for tobacco dependence/smoking cessation up to a limit of 300 minutes per plan year. Counseling can occur in a face-to-face setting or over the telephone, either individually or in a group. Learn more.
  • Nicotine replacement products are available at no cost through your prescription drug plan if you have a prescription. For details, see your member handbook, found in your member materials.

1 What You Need to Know about Quitting Smoking – Advice from the Surgeon General. (Accessed November 2020): hhs.gov
2 American Cancer Society website – Quit smoking for you and everyone who cares for you. (Accessed November 2021): cancer.org

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