The third Thursday of November marks the American Cancer Society's Great American Smokeout. A day for smokers to make a plan to quit. By quitting, even for one day, smokers will be taking an important step towards a healthier life
Given his history, the treadmill is the last place you would expect to find Steven Anderson.
"I've smoked or did smoke for the better part of 40 years." Said Anderson
Those years and cigarettes quickly added up and put Steven in the Avera Heart Hospital's cath lab.
"I had to have two stents put in a year ago and between being overweight, smoking, and not eating healthy as a truck driver I ended up in here." Said Anderson.
On the road, Steven's boredom more-often-then-not turned into lighting up a cigarette. Then came the habit and an addiction.
"Either you are physically addicted to it because your body is needing that nicotine or psychologically addicted to it because you use it for relaxation boredom or stressful situations or it's just habit." Said Deb Murray, a respiratory therapist at the Avera Heart Hospital.
It's a habit that's very hard to break.
"It's an ongoing thing with me. I had quit before and had gone back, quit then gone back. I enjoy the taste of tobacco! I'm sorry and I've been working on it for seven months so we'll see if it holds." Said Anderson.
By quitting smoking Steven has seen his health improve tremendously. He's dropped plenty of pounds and is able put in time on the treadmill. These are just a few benefits any smoker can expect when they kick the habit.
"Your circulation improves, your lung function improves and now we add on the years, we just decreased the risk of heart disease, we just decreased the risk of having lung cancer." Said Murray.
Cold turkey works for some people, but regardless of method, choosing to quit requires a plan.
"The more resources you pull in the more your success rate will increase, it is really important to have family or friends be supportive, not nag at you but be supportive of you." Said Murray.
With their popularity rising, many people are turning to e-cigarettes to help them quit. While the tar and tobacco smoke has been eliminated, it's not really eliminating the habit.
"Bottom line it's a smoking device." Said Murray.
Even with his hospital stay and healthier lifestyle Steven says the urge to light up is always there. So dousing that flame is a decision he has to make every single day.
"It honestly is, but like I said it's tough and it's a day-to-day process." Said Anderson.
For more information and help with quitting just call 877-AT-AVERA.