Smokers looking to kick habit can get a kickstart with Great American Smokeout

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- If you've been think about kicking the smoking habit, Thursday may be the perfect day for you. It's the Great American Smokeout, a day when people are encouraged to quit all smoking.

"It's really important to set a date when you're talking about quitting smoking," said Dr. Joseph Stilwill.

Kicking the nicotine habit isn't easy and it takes a lot of hard work. Dr. Stilwill with Sarah Cannon at Menorah Medical Center says it can be done, even cold turkey.

"Everybody's different and there are patients who clearly quit when they just decide, I'm going to quit," the doctor said.

There are medications and cessation classes to help. Dr. Stilwill says the counseling is a huge help.

"It's more of a group setting where everybody talks about their challenges that they're going through, and support to assist them and know that other people are going through same problems, having same issues," Dr. Stilwill explained.

What Dr. Stilwill doesn't want to see smokers do is trade cigarettes for a hip alternative like e-cigarettes or vape.

"The studies looking at how effective e-cigarettes are in helping persons quit are mixed. Some studies show some benefits, others have not. I think at this point we don't know the safety of it," he said.

A new study says hookah smoking or just hanging out in hookah bars have dangers. The American Association for Cancer Research is concerned about carcinogen levels for smokers and non-smokers.

Andy Allyn was with a friend at a Midtown hookah bar Wednesday night. He's a self-described social smoker and he's not concerned.

"I think if you do it all the time, like every day, it might turn bad. I don't think this is very addictive as cigarettes and other tobacco are," said Allyn.

If you've thought about quitting all forms of smoking, Thursday is the day. Need help? Here's a link to the Great American Smokeout website.