Great American Smokeout is coming your way: Thursday Nov. 19

Are you ready for a day without cigarettes?   Well lucky you, that’s what the  Great American Smokeout is all about.   Each year on the third Thursday of November since 1976, The American Cancer Society (ACS) organizes the Smokeout.   According to ACS, more Americans try to quit smoking on this day than any other day of the year, including New Year’s Day.Smoking-symbol

What does it take to participate?    Not much, simply commit to put the smokes away and quit smoking for one day, how hard is that?    Well if you need help to do that, the Great American Smokeout Website contains user-friendly tips and tools to help smokers create a smoke-free life.  

The concept of the Smokeout dates from the early ’70s when Lynn Smith, publisher of the Monticello Times of Minnesota, announced the first observance and called it “D Day.”   The idea caught on in state after state until in 1976, it went nationwide under the sponsorship of the American Cancer Society.   If past Smokeouts are any indication, as many as one-third of the nation’s 46 million smokers could be taking this Thursday off from smoking.

According to some previous years’ activities included:

  • A national sandwich shop company gave out free “cold turkey” sandwiches and cookies to smokers who turned in at least a half pack of cigarettes.
  • Newborn babies at Washington’s Columbia Hospital received T-shirts that said “I’m a Born Nonsmoker.”
  • “Don’t Let Smoking Be an Obstacle” was the slogan for a Houston activity in which smokers ran an obstacle course consisting of oversized cigarette packs, matches and ashtrays.
  • Preschoolers in Texas played “Gonesmoke, a Tale of the New West,” wearing red bandannas and Smokeout deputy badges.
  • Other events include public appearances by celebrities who have quit, parades, rallies, athletic events and ceremonial cigarette burials and bonfires

Besides the benefits you will realize from stopping smoking, there are others that will benefit as well, secondhand smoke can be harmful in many ways.  In the United States alone, each year it is responsible for:

  • an estimated 35,000 deaths from heart disease in non-smokers who live with smokers 
  • about 3,400 lung cancer deaths in non-smoking adults 
  • other breathing problems in non-smokers, including coughing, mucus, chest discomfort, and reduced lung function 
  • 150,000 to 300,000 lung infections (such as pneumonia and bronchitis) in children younger than 18 months of age, which result in 7,500 to 15,000 hospitalizations 
  • increases in the number and severity of asthma attacks in about 200,000 to 1 million children who have asthma 
  • more than 750,000 middle ear infections in children

More information about quitting smoking is available by calling 800-QUIT-NOW (800-784-8669) or visiting   GOOD LUCK this thursday!


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