If you smoke, find your calendar and draw a big red circle around Nov. 16.
That’s the date for this year’s Great American Smokeout—a day that everyone who smokes is encouraged to quit.
The Smokeout has fallen on the third Thursday in November since 1976, when the California division of the American Cancer Society (ACS) convinced nearly 1 million smokers to quit for the day. The ACS took the event nationwide in 1977. Millions more people have quit smoking over the years. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, slightly more than 34 percent of American adults smoked in 1978. Today that number is down to less than 17 percent.
That’s a big drop. Still, smoking remains the No. 1 preventable cause of premature death and disease.
You can quit too. No doubt, it’s hard to give up smoking. But there are many more resources available today for stopping smoking than there were in 1976.
- Over-the-counter nicotine replacement gum, patches and other products.
- Prescription medicine to help ease cravings.
- Free help by phone or online from trained counselors at the National Cancer Institute: www.smokefree.gov/tools-tips/speak-expert.
- A national network of tobacco cessation quitlines: 800-QUIT-NOW (800-784-8669).
- Free support and tips by text message. Sign up at smokefree.gov/tools-tips/smokefreetxt.
- Apps for smartphones. Learn more at www.smokefree.gov/tools-tips/apps.
- Free tips and tools from the ACS at www.cancer.org/smokeout.
Make this year the one that you finally say good riddance to smoking—forever.