Now that it is common knowledge that smoking can have a devastating effect on our health, more and more people are looking to quit; however, some people need more motivation than others to do this and one of the top events each year is the Great American Smokeout.
Run by the American Cancer Society, the Smokeout is designed to help people who are planning to quit the habit and there is plenty of information made available to encourage people to move in the right direction. Taking place on the third Thursday in November each year, the event sees volunteers in towns and cities across the country publicizing why it is important to stop smoking and to campaign for laws that control the use of tobacco and discourage teenagers from starting to smoke.
Research on the subject has shown that when smokers want to quit they are more successful if they have more support. This could include things such as hotlines for you to call when you are struggling with quitting, support groups, online support groups, counseling services, products designed to help you to cope with the removal of nicotine, prescription medications, and encouragement from others. The research also shows that it is a good idea to use more than one of these methods to help you to quit.
The annual Great American Smokeout began back in the 1970s and since it started it has helped to change the public perception of smoking. What was once considered to be a cool and sophisticated habit has now been revealed to be a killer. Recent smoke-free laws in some states have come about with the help of the Great American Smokeout.
The first event took place in 1970 in Randolph, Massachusetts. The organizer, Arthur P Mullaney, simply asked people to quit smoking for one day and to donate the cost of that day’s cigarettes to fund a high school scholarship. This developed by 1974 into Don’t Smoke Day, led by Lynn R Smith, editor of Minnesota’s Monticello Times. In 1976 the first Great American Smokeout was officially held and almost one million smokers in California were persuaded to give up cigarettes for the day. The following year the event was held right across the country.
What has the Great American Smokeout achieved? Laws in a number of states have been introduced throughout the 1980s and 1990s banning smoking in workplaces and public places such as restaurants. Taxes have been raised on tobacco products and the promotion of tobacco products has been limited. Just two years ago the FDA published a list of all the harmful components of tobacco to help smokers to understand the damage that they are doing when they light up.
It is estimated that nearly one-fifth of US adults smoke, and lung cancer is still one of the leading causes of death for both men and women. Smoking also causes a number of other cancers and diseases, and one-fifth of US deaths are smoking related. If you want to quit you don’t have to wait until the Great American Smokeout, but you should make the most of everything that the day has to offer.