Dr. Carolyn M. Clancy, director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, said quitting smoking is one of the best things anyone can do to improve health.
The U.S. surgeon general said within 12 hours of the last cigarette, carbon monoxide levels in the blood returns to normal. Within one year of quitting, the excess risk of heart disease is half that of a person who continues to smoke.
Secondhand smoke has more than 50 chemicals that are known to cause cancer in adults and cause lung disease and heart disease in people who have never smoked.
The website -- BeTobaccoFree.gov -- has interactive features, mobile apps, tools and resources designed specifically for parents, educators and teens.
You can START the process by:
-- S: Setting a quit date. Pick a date within the next two weeks to allow time for preparation, but not so much time to lose determination.
-- T: Telling others about your plan to quit.
-- A: Anticipating the challenges ahead. Be prepared for situations when you will be tempted to smoke.
-- R: Removing cigarettes from your home, car and work. Clean your car, get rid of lighters and ashtrays and have your teeth cleaned.
-- T: Talking to your doctor about getting help to quit. A nicotine patch or nicotine gum can be purchased but others require a prescription.