The Great American Smokeout is an annual event sponsored by the American Cancer Society (ACS). It is held on the third Thursday of November. This social engineering event focuses on encouraging Americans to quit tobacco smoking. People are challenged to stop smoking for at least 24 hours assuming that their decision not to smoke will last longer, hopefully forever.
Today, more than 43 million people in the United States smoke cigarettes, that is about 1 in 5 adults. The Great American Smokeout evolved from a number of smaller-scale events that took place in the 1970s. The first Great American Smokeout occurred in California on November 18, 1976. According to the California division of the ACS, nearly 1 million people stopped smoking cigarettes that day. In 1977, the event was taken nationwide.Different people quit smoking in different ways. There are those who quit abruptly and completely and those who cut back gradually. Some people need substitutions and distractions to suppress cravings and others need special medicines. No matter which approach you choose, the Great American Smokeout is the perfect occasion to make the first step. Of course, if you have already decided to quite smoking, you don’t have to wait till November.
More than 34 million Americans still smoke cigarettes, and smoking remains the single largest preventable cause of death and illness in the world. Smoking causes an estimated 480,000 deaths every year, or about 1 in 5 deaths. And more than 16 million Americans live with a smoking-related disease. While the cigarette smoking rate has dropped significantly, from 42% in 1965 to 14% in 2017, the gains have been inconsistent. Some groups of Americans suffer disproportionately from smoking-related cancer and other diseases, including those who have less education, who live below the poverty level, or who suffer from serious psychological distress, as well as certain racial and ethnic groups, and lesbians, gays and bisexuals.
Quitting smoking improves health immediately and over the long term – at any age. Stopping smoking is hard, but you can increase your chances of success with help. Getting help through counseling and medications doubles or even triples your chances of quitting successfully.
Quitting smoking is a process, and success may look different for different people. There are many ways to quit smoking, and some work better than others. The American Cancer Society can tell you about the steps you can take to quit smoking and help you find quit-smoking programs, resources, and support that can increase your chances of quitting successfully. To learn about the available tools, call 1-800-227-2345 or you can reach them via live chat.
To read more on this subject, check out the Freeman/Lozier Library resources here.