14 Nov

American Cancer Society's 'The Great American Smokeout'

American Cancer Society's 'The Great American Smokeout'

In 1970 a man named, Arthur P. Mullaney, had the idea to asked people to give up cigarettes for a day and donate the money they would have spent on cigarettes to a high school scholarship fund. The idea was later coined as “The Great American Smokeout”. Several states that were making changes towards tobacco advertising also caught on to this idea and made it become a nationwide event. The Great American Smokeout now occurs the third Thursday of every November and encourages Americans to stop smoking. About 40 million Americans still smoke cigarettes, and tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the world. While cigarette smoking rates have dropped (from 42% in 1965 to 17% in 2014), cigar, pipe, and hookah etc. are very much on the rise.


Life expectancy for smokers is at least 10 years shorter than that of non-smokers. It’s never too late to quit using tobacco. The sooner one quits, the more one can reduce their chances of getting cancer and other diseases.  Quitting smoking has immediate and long-term benefits at any age. Quitting smoking before age 40 reduces the risk of dying from smoking-related disease by about 90%. Kicking the habit of smoking can lower the risk of diabetes, heart, and lung diseases.


The Great American Smokeout illustrates several steps one can take in order to quit smoking.  Writing down reasons of why quitting is important, and setting a quit date are great first steps to take after deciding to quit. Re-learning life without cigarettes may take time; therefore, the recommended quit date is set within 2-4 weeks after making the decision to quit. It’s important to remember that quitting is hard and sometimes having someone there to help you along the process can make a difference. Research shows that smokers who have support are more likely to quit for good. Programs for quitting smoking and counseling can help as an emotional support when trying to quit smoking. Other resources such as nicotine patches, lozenges, and prescribed medications can double or triple the chances of quitting successfully. You can always speak with your primary health care practitioner or pharmacist to determine if these therapies would be appropriate for you. Technology has also provided updated resources such as apps available for iPhone and Androids to help quit smoking. Ultimately, someone who is fully committed to the idea to quit smoking can succeed, even if it takes a few tries.


Quiz available to give helpful tips based on results:


Guide to Quitting Smoking:


Free Apps to help quit smoking:

  • American Cancer Society Quit for Life: an app designed to help quit smoking including quit date tracker, savings calculator, motivationsal reasons, and daily tips
  • Livestrong MyQuit Coach: a virtual coach allows helps you create a personalized plan for quitting


Additional tips and tool at: