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According to the American Cancer Society, smoking accounts for at least 30 percent of all cancer deaths and 87 percent of all lung cancer deaths. The risk of developing lung cancer is about 23 times higher in male smokers and 13 times higher in female smokers compared to lifelong nonsmokers.

“The best prevention for lung cancer is to stop smoking,” Lara Whetstone, M.S.Ed., Exercise Physiologist/STS Data Manager, urges. The U.S. Surgeon General’s Report on smoking stated people who quit, regardless of age, live longer than people who continue to smoke. Smokers who quit before age 50 reduce their risk of dying in the next 15 years by half, compared to those who continue to smoke. And, those who stop smoking lower their risks for other major diseases, such as heart disease and stroke.

Providence offers the community free smoking cessation classes that focus on why individuals smoke, methods to quit smoking and how to successfully stop. The series of four classes is available on the hospital campus in the Cardiac Rehabilitation department. The next session will be held Mondays and Wednesdays, Jan. 20, 22, 27 and 29. To register for this free class, call 913-596-4950.