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The Great American Smokeout

It's a great day to become a quitter

If you smoke, find your calendar and draw a big red circle around Nov. 19. 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% of American adults smoked in 1978. Today that number is down to less than 16%.

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.

For example:

  • Over-the-counter nicotine replacement gum, patches and other products and prescription drugs are available to help ease cravings.
  • Free eight-week online tobacco cessation classes are available through the Tammy Walker Cancer Center at Salina Regional Health Center, in partnership with the Masonic Cancer Alliance. Contact Daniel Craig, cancer outreach coordinator, by calling 785-452-4848 or emailing
  • The Kansas Tobacco Quitline provides free one-on-one coaching to help tobacco users quit. The Quitline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, at or 800-QUIT-NOW (800-784-8669).

Categories: Smoking cessation