There was a country music hit several years ago entitled “One More Day.” It reverberated with a lot of people following the 9-11 attack.

The song should also resonate with everyone who ever wanted to stop smoking, but couldn't quite do it.

This Thursday, Nov. 19, if you smoke, I hope you perform a death-defying act. I hope you give yourself One More Day -- maybe years more -- to be with your loved ones.

Starting Thursday – or today, for that matter -- smokers, dippers and chewers can give themselves a pay raise, add years to their lives, spend more time with their loved ones, and then talk about having pulled the whole thing off.

Remember, it ain't bragging if you can do it.

How?

Quit smoking, dipping or chewing.

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For more information, visit www.quitlinems.com.

On Smokeout Day -- sponsored by the American Cancer Society the third Thursday annually in November -- smokers and users of smokeless tobacco are encouraged to quit for 24 hours. The hope is that some of them will springboard from that to quit for life.

For more information on ways to quit, call the American Cancer Society at 1-800-227-2345 or reach them via live chat.

Most smokers want to quit, but it's harder than stuffing toothpaste back into the tube.

The American Psychiatric Association and the National Institute on Drug Abuse classify smoking as addictive. To anyone who smokes, that's displaying a firm command of the obvious.

Many people seeking treatment for drug and alcohol dependency say quitting their problem substance is easier to quit than giving up cigarettes.

Moral support and expert help can make the difference between success and failure, according to the experts.

Cigarettes and smokeless tobacco contain nicotine, which is an Un-Holy Trinity. It's a powerful stimulant, highly addictive, and a blue chip poison, according to studies.

The smoke smokers take into their lungs also contains carbon monoxide, which displaces the oxygen in red blood cells.

Put simply, when you smoke, it's like driving with one foot on the gas and one on the brake. As a stimulant, the nicotine makes your heart beat faster, while the carbon monoxide deprives it of the oxygen it needs to work harder.

For a more graphic example, try this: Run in place for 30 seconds to get your heart rate up. After that, keep running but slowly push your thumb against your windpipe until you begin to strangle. That's basically what you do to yourself when you smoke. The process just takes longer.

If strangling yourself isn't reason enough to quit, consider some other reasons.

Smoking is a major cause of heart disease. Smoking-related heart attacks kill over 100,000 Americans annually.

That's almost twice the number of people killed during the whole Vietnam War. It's equal to the deaths of every man, woman and child in 20 towns the size of Pontotoc.

Each year.

Some of us have a lot of questions about the deaths of so many people from the Covid-19 virus this year. Those questions deserve answers.

Why aren’t more of us demanding answers about ways to save 100,000 American lives each year? Where’s the national outcry? Those answers are simple – quit smoking, dipping or chewing. And if you don’t do any of those things, don’t start.

Tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the United States.

Each year in Mississippi, smoking accounts for an estimated 4,700 premature deaths. Sixty-nine thousand Mississippi children now under 18 will ultimately die prematurely from smoking, according to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

Youngsters say smoking makes them look older. They're right. Smoking causes premature wrinkling of the skin, and yellowed fingertips.

It's cool to lose a breast or a lung or a jawbone to cancer while you're still young, isn't it? Absitively and posilutely -- just ask anyone who ever has.

By the way, smoking turns your cash to ash. If you smoke, dip or chew, figure out how much you spend each day on your habit, and multiply that figure by 365. Quit next Thursday, stay quit, and begin enjoying that extra cash.

Let's see now, smokes cost an average of $6.96 a pack in this country, according to published information.

A pack-a-day guy or gal who quits cold and stays quit would save almost $42 weekly, or about $2,184 annually.

Think that wouldn't buy some food or clothes for the kids, or start a slush fund toward a new car or truck or the kids' college education, or make you a good little IRA?

And the previous paragraph about costs doesn’t include some really major money you could save.

Quit smoking, and think of the years of insurance deductibles and co-pays you won’t have to pay to deal with smoking related illnesses such as cancer, stroke, high blood pressure, to name a few.

Think of the insurance co-pays you won’t have to pay for medication for those illnesses. If you can prove you’re a non-smoker, your insurance premiums will likely decline.

This Thursday – or today, for that matter -- perform a death-defying act. Quit.

The life or lung or breast you save may be your own.

If you don't have enough pride in yourself, or enough backbone, to quit committing suicide on the installment plan, do it for your family and friends. Why put them through the possible misery of your cancer, your heart attack, or your funeral?

And when you say "that will never happen to me," remember the graveyards are full of people who once said the same thing.

In case you wonder, the answer is yes: I'm an ex-smoker. BTDT (Been There, Done That).

I used to love to smoke - Luckies, when I could get them, Bull Durham rolled into Zig Zag papers and licked closed when times were tough, or those three-for-a-quarter payday cigars that smelled like a fire at a slaughterhouse.

I quit almost 40 years ago after I realized that my servant would become my master if I didn't win the fight.

To this day, when I pass a tobacco shop, I pause and sniff deeply. My eyes glaze over, and I grin hugely. Sometimes, I miss a good cigar a whole, whole lot.

But consider the trade-off -- what I gave for what I got.

I've still got both lungs. At 74 I've yet to have that first heart attack. I've saved untold thousands of dollars I would have spent on tobacco, and I've put it toward things like my family and my home. I can still walk and run three miles and get back home the same day I started.

It's still the cops who tell me to slow down, and not the doctor.

I’m still around to be a blessing to my friends and a threat to my enemies.

Seems like a fair trade-off to me.

I saw the light, and it wasn't the glow from the end of a cigarette.

So, I hope, will you.

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One More Day...

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