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UNDATED (CNN) -- Thursday marks the Great American Smokeout, a day when smokers are encouraged to give up the habit for 24 hours in hopes of helping them quit forever.

It takes the average smoker about three to find attempts before they can finally quit. Experts said the best way to kick the habit is through a combination of counseling and medication.

The Surgeon General of the United States has compared the addictive properties of tobacco to that of cocaine and heroin.

The health benefits of quitting can be seen in as few as 12 hours. Your blood pressure is down, your blood will flow more freely, and you can breathe more easily.

After about three months, you're less likely to develop one of the 15 cancers associated with smoking, and after 9 months, a lot of smokers reported they could feel a difference in the their health, they could taste food, and they could climb stairs.

If you make it to a year, you are much less likely to go back to smoking and half as likely to develop heart disease.

The American Cancer Society said within 10 year after quitting the risk of dying from Lung Cancer is about half of that of a person who is still smoking.

If you slip, don't consider it a failure. It's just part of the process. Never give up, because it's going to add 10 years to your life. It's going to save you a lot of money, and it's going to enable you to play with your children and your grandchildren.

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