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VAN WERT - As the official sponsor of birthdays, the American Cancer Society encourages smokers to make a plan to quit, or to plan in advance and quit smoking. According to an American Cancer Society report, smokers who quit can expect to live up to ten years longer than those who continue to smoke. Quitting is hard, but smokers can increase their chances of success with help.
Research shows that much of the risk of premature death from smoking could be prevented by quitting. Smokers who quit, regardless of age, live longer than people who continue to smoke. Smokers who quit reduce their risk of lung cancer - ten years after quitting, the lung cancer death rate is about half that of a continuing smoker's. Quitting also lowers the risk for other major diseases including heart disease and stroke.

"Quitting smoking is an important step towards reducing your cancer risk and celebrating more birthdays," said Marybeth Torsell, health initiatives representative for the Society. "The FreshStart program provides great tips and tools to help you beat the urge to smoke. There has never been a better time to quit!"

The American Cancer Society's FreshStart program is designed to help participants stop smoking by providing them with all of the essential information and strategies needed to direct their own efforts at stopping. The program focuses on an active pragmatic approach to quitting smoking through active participation and group support. Participants are encouraged to apply what they learn in FreshStart to other aspects of their lives.

The program begins Tuesday, Jan. 22 from 5 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. and will run for four weeks, ending Tuesday, Feb. 12. Sessions are located at the Gaylord E. Leslie Wellness Center Conference Room, 140 Fox Road Suite 101, Van Wert, Ohio. Interested individuals may register for this free series by calling (419) 238-2390 ext. 345.