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The number of people who smoke cigarettes in the United States has plummeted to an all-time low. This is according to recently released data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In 2017, 14 percent of America’s population were active consumers of cigarettes and tobacco products. This number fell from 15.5 percent of the U.S. population in 2016. The rate in 1965, which is the year when the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) started tracking tobacco-use, was at an alarming 81 percent level. The reason for this significant decline is a decades-long combination of tobacco price increases, new anti-smoking laws, public awareness campaigns and increased medical interventions for addiction.

There’s Still Work to Do:
     While the CDC’s research indicates commendable progress towards eradication of tobacco-use, 14 percent of America’s population still equates to 34.3 million people. Not only are millions of people still susceptible to complications from smoking such as lung cancer, addiction is still a side effect that impacts a variety of age-groups, including youth. According to the CDC, smoking still kills more than 480,000 people every year. Considering the fact that people have the choice not to smoke, all of these deaths are completely preventable.

It Might be Hard, but Quitting is Worth It:
     Honestly speaking, if you’re still a smoker, no one can blame you for feeling fatigued with the stigm! a. Between the ominous statistics, and scary commercials, it can feel like the entire world is judging you for something that’s hard to control. Deep down inside though, you have to admit that times are changing. The more people in general quit smoking, the less peace of mind you’ll have about clinging onto tobacco. Even if you disregard the negative health effects, smoking as a habit is getting more expensive every day, and less popular to boot. All of this means that now is the perfect time to let go of the stress and get the monkey off your back. There’s a world of benefits waiting for you if you dare to put yourself out there and take the first step. Here are just a few:

1. Food will Taste Better:
As new smokers build up tolerance to cigarettes, they also inadvertently dull their sense of taste and smell by constantly inhaling smoke. Letting go of cigarettes reverses this side-effect and allows your s! enses to reset.

2. More Stamina:
Quitting cigarettes allows your lungs to breathe in more oxygen and less carbon monoxide. With purer oxygen being supplied to your bloodstream, your metabolism will immediately revive and allow you to be more active.

3. Happier Retirement:
It might not seem like it when you’re young, but the decisions you make today determine the quality of life you’ll enjoy when you’re older. The sooner you quit smoking, the less risk you have of dealing with events like heart attacks, strokes, or cancer.

4. Big Savings:
Heavy smokers can end up spending! up to $9,000 a year on cigarettes. When you think about it, that’s basically the same thing as burning all that money into ashes. Quitting cigarettes allows you to save a ton of cash.

5. Smell Fresh:
You might not even realize it but if you’re a heavy smoker, chances are you reek of tar. If you’re tired of smelling like a firefighter all the time, try kicking the habit. Everything from your clothes, to your skin, to your hair will smell better than it usually does.

Nobody’s saying that quitting is going to be easy. But if you give it an honest try, it will definitely be worth it. You owe it to yourself, and to everyone you love, to treat your body like a temple and live as healthy a life as possible. Just remember that quitting tobacco is a journey. It took a long process of behavior to build up y! our current tolerance to cigarettes, and it will take an equally long process to cope without tobacco. So be kind to yourself along the way. If you stumble and fall, get back up and keep trying. There is simply no excuse for anyone to risk their lives over a habit that adds no value to success or survival.