Although U.S. cigarette smoking rates have improved in the past 20 years, tobacco use and nicotine addiction remain major issues.

The Great American Smokeout, November 17, encourages the loved ones of individuals who smoke or use vaping devices to offer additional support for quitting.

“Ending the use of these products is one of the best things someone can do for their health,” said SSM Health Community Health Director Megan Timm. “The Great American Smokeout recognizes Day 1 on this important journey.”

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates around 12.5% of US adults currently smoke. Many more utilize vaping devices, which some misconceive as being a safe alternative to smoking.

“Vaping is absolutely not ‘healthier’ than smoking cigarettes,” Timm said. “This is something that public health institutions are working very hard to educate about, particularly with youth.”

In 2020, approximately 1 in 5 high school students reported that they vaped. Today, that number is likely much higher and younger students – including those in middle school – are using.

“Research indicates that many youth and young adults who vape will eventually use cigarettes or other tobacco products,” Timm said.

Smoking and vaping are both harmful to one’s health, as they contain addictive nicotine and many other harmful chemicals and toxins.


  • Harms nearly every organ in the body
  • Linked to cancer, heart disease, stroke, COPD and other serious conditions
  • Smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals


  • The industry has been largely unregulated.
  • Pods contain large amounts of nicotine and other chemicals that have been linked to cancer.
  • Nicotine can harm youth brain development and lead to lifelong addiction.
  • No matter how long someone has been smoking or vaping, quitting improves their health.

To learn more about how to get involved in The Great American Smokeout, visit .

For smoking cessation guidance, speak with your primary care provider today.

Guest Author: Megan Timm, SSM Health Community Health Director

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