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Statement by Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services, on the Great American Smokeout

Posted Nov 17 2010 1:00am

Tobacco use ─ which is responsible for more than 440,000 deaths per year in the US alone ─ is the leading preventable cause of death in this country.

Over the years, our nation has made great strides in the fight against tobacco. In fact, our nation now has more former smokers than current smokers. But our smoking rates are still too high: 20.6 percent of adults and 19.5 percent of high schoolers smoke.

Quitting smoking isn’t easy ─ but help is out there: Anyone can pick up the phone and call 1-800-QUIT-NOW and get expert assistance. Another resource is  And thanks to our recently passed Affordable Care Act, many health plans will cover the costs of medication and counseling to help people quit.

So consider joining millions of other soon-to-be ex-smokers who are participating in the Great American Smokeout on November 18, by giving up smoking at least for today. Make a commitment to quit ─ start today!

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