NORTH DAKOTA (KXNET) — Elected officials in our state need to do more to support residents who want to quit using tobacco, and they are marking it with the American Cancer Society’s 48th annual Great American Smokeout.

According to a news release, the Great American Smokeout is a day for those who use tobacco products to create a quitting plan.

Tobacco use is still the leading preventable cause of disease and death in North Dakota, and smoking is also linked to at least 12 types of cancer, including lung, liver, and colorectal.

More than 1,000 people die from smoking-related diseases in our state alone.

Even though there are hazards established, the CDC shows that 11% of North Dakotans smoke, as they are highly addictive, and can be hard to quit once they’ve started.

“The Great American Smokeout is not just an opportunity for people who use tobacco to set a plan to quit. It’s also a clear wake-up call for lawmakers to say it’s time for North Dakota to stand up to Big Tobacco,” said Government Relations Director for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) Ben Hanson.

Research also shows that strong tobacco control policies can help people quit smoking.

“Nearly 70% of adults who smoke want to quit, but quitting is incredibly difficult,” said Hanson. “We know that a well-funded tobacco cessation and prevention program is so important to provide the support needed to help people quit, and to help prevent kids and young adults from starting to use tobacco.”

The use of tobacco is one of the main drivers of cancer-related health disparities, and tobacco companies are targeting communities that cause disproportionate use.

Getting health equity relies on eliminating the use of tobacco.

You can find free resources here or through the American Cancer Society’s cessation program Empowered to Quit.