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• In the United States, tobacco use is responsible for nearly one in five deaths, or about 443,000 premature deaths each year, according to the American Cancer Society. (FILE)

Thursday is the sponsored by the American Cancer Society.

The cancer society asks smokers to make a plan for not smoking on that day with an ultimate goal of quitting altogether.

We talk to an expert here on some tips to stop.

But we are also calling on the real experts -- the ex-smokers out there.

How did you quit smoking? Post in comments below.

Our expert Dr. William Bailey, a pulmonologist who once headed the University of Alabama at Birmingham Lung Health Center, offers some strategies here:

Write down every cigarette you smoke. Which ones are the most difficult to cut out? The cigarette with coffee in the morning? The one after lunch? The one (or more) at night with the evening cocktail? "Make notes and then plan some kind of action that scrambles that routine up," Bailey said. "They are addictions but are also habits. If you are used to having one reading the newspaper drinking coffee at the table. Try reading the paper standing up so you have to balance the coffee on the mantle place."Talk to smokers you hang out with and ask them not to smoke around you. Tell them you're trying to quit. Avoid in your early stages of quitting those events where smoking is prevalent -- the drinks after the softball game, the weekly poker night, or whatever place you used to go and smoke. "The longer you can go without cigarettes, the longer you can go without those cues kicking in," Bailey said.Don't think it's too late to quit smoking to rescue health, Bailey said. Studies show that if you quit smoking your lungs will get better and sometimes be restored to pre-smoking condition. "It's never too late," he said. "There's an immediate benefit from stopping and a continued long term benefit over the first five or six years."Think of how much you will save if you quit. to help you see how much you are spending on cigarettes.

One thing Bailey notes: a lot of people have tried to quit five or six times before successful.

The American Cancer Society estimates that 27,080 Alabama residents will get cancer this year. Of those, 4,550 will be lung cancer and 3,229 will die from lung cancer.

If you used to smoke and have stopped for good, please share in the comments your tips, tricks and strategies for kicking the habit.

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