Today is the 36th annual Great American Smokeout, the day on which the nation's more-than-46 million smokers are urged to put down the cigarettes. For resources to help you quit, go to cancer.org. Here are some statistics that may inspire a change:
• Tobacco use is the largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the U.S.
• Last year, 21.5 percent of men and 17.3 percent of women age 18 or older were smokers.
• In 2009, 19.5 percent of high school students were smokers.
• Nearly half the nonsmoking public had detectable blood levels of cotinine, indicating exposure to secondhand smoke.
• More than 60 percent of kids ages 4 to 11 had detectable levels.
• Tobacco costs the nation $96 billion in medical expenses per year. The bill for lost productivity: $97 billion.
• Cigarette smokers are two to four times more likely to develop coronary heart disease and face twice the stroke risk of nonsmokers.
SOURCES: American Heart Association, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention