NILES, Ohio (WKBN) — Thursday marks the Great American Smokeout, reminding people about the dangers of smoking and offering those interested in quitting an opportunity to do so.

The Great American Smokeout is about changing a bad habit. About 34 million Americans still smoke cigarettes. Smoking remains the single-largest preventable cause of death in the world.

“Any day you decide to quit smoking is a good day,” said Dr. Molly Howsare, a pulmonary and critical care physician.

Mercy Health had a table inside the Eastwood Mall on Thursday, sharing details about the dangers of smoking and its effect on the body.

The American Cancer Society has new guidelines about yearly lung cancer screenings. The importance is that they increase the number of people who should get screened. Smoking is a big factor in lung cancer.

One important test is determining how much carbon monoxide is in the lungs.

“The sooner that you find lung cancer, the easier it is to treat, and the better the outcomes,” Howsare said.

Mercy Health has a tobacco treatment program to help people quit smoking. Of those who start the program, 77% are successful.

“What I tell people is that if you quit smoking and then you have a slip up, then quit again the next day. The importance is that we want you to keep quitting until it sticks,” Howsare said.

Mercy Health’s program to quit smoking takes just 5 weeks. Even if it doesn’t work for them the first time, 33% come back to try again.

And though the younger generation is more interested in vaping, the nicotine is just as addictive as that found in cigarettes and comes with its own risks. People who vape as adolescents are more like to start smoking later in life than those who don’t vape.

“The other issue with vaping and nicotine is that that can actually change some of your brain patterns, the way the nicotine is absorbed into the brain,” said Howsare. “There’s still a lot of research on these high doses of nicotine that are in the vapes and what what future outcomes that could lead to.”

Those interested in learning more about the program can contact Mercy Health at 330-480-3109, or read more about it online.