Press Release
November 15, 2012
Sabrina L Miller (312) 814-8194

State Health Department Encourages Smokers to “Call it Quits!”

November 15 is the Great American Smokeout

CHICAGO – The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is encouraging Illinois smokers to “Call it Quits” today by participating in the 37th annual Great American Smokeout. Held annually on the third Thursday in November, The Smokeout is a national tobacco cessation day intended to raise awareness on the dangers of tobacco and to help tobacco users quit—for at least one day—with the hope that they will quit for good.

"Tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the United States," said IDPH Director Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck. "Illinois offers many great resources to help people move toward quitting tobacco use altogether and the occasion of The Smokeout is a great reason to start using them today."

In 2010, 16.9 percent of Illinois adults and 18.4 percent of Illinois high school students are smokers, and more than 16,000 Illinois adults die annually from smoking-related causes. Smoking costs the state about $3 billion in direct medical expenditures each year. According to the Illinois Adult Tobacco Survey, an estimated 64 percent of Illinois adults want to quit smoking for good.

According to the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the immediate health benefits of quitting smoking are substantial:

  • Within 20 minutes: Heart rate and blood pressure–abnormally high while smoking–drop.
  • Within 12 hours: Carbon monoxide levels in the blood begin to drop.
  • Two weeks to three months: Circulation improves; lung function increases.
  • One to nine months: Coughing and shortness of breath decreases.
  • One year: Excess risk of coronary heart disease is cut in half.

Other immediate benefits of quitting smoking include an improved sense of taste and smell. Among the resources in Illinois to help smokers “Call it Quits”, IDPH sponsors the Illinois Tobacco Quitline (1-866-QUIT-YES), a free helpline where trained staffers known as “Quit Coaches” are available to callers 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.

"Quit Coaches" create free, personalized quit plans and provide educational materials and referrals to local resources. The Illinois Tobacco Quitline also offers a full-time Spanish-speaking interpreter, and the capability to speak to clients in more than 150 languages through an interpretation service.

For more information, please visit or the Illinois Department of Public Health website at

idph online home
idph online home

Illinois Department of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
Phone 217-782-4977
Fax 217-782-3987
TTY 800-547-0466
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