The Great American Smokeout Event

For more than 40 years, the American Cancer Society has hosted the Great American Smokeout on the third Thursday of November.  The Great American Smokeout is an opportunity for smokers to commit to healthy, smoke -free lives – not just for a day, but year-round. The Great American Smokeout provides an opportunity for individuals, community groups, businesses, health care providers, and others to encourage people to use the date to make a plan to quit, or plan in advance and initiate a smoking cessation plan on the day of the event. The Great American Smokeout event challenges people to stop smoking and helps people learn about the many tools they can use to help them quit and stay quit.

Why Should You Quit?

While cigarette smoking rates have dropped, about 37.8 million Americans smoke cigarettes. About half of all Americans who keep smoking will die because of their smoking. Each year more than 480,000 people in the United States die from illnesses caused by smoking. This means each year smoking causes about 1 out of 5 deaths in the US.

Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States, accounting for 29% of all cancer deaths. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death for men and women. Smoking also causes cancers of the larynx (voice box), mouth, sinuses, pharynx (throat), esophagus (swallowing tube), and bladder. It also has been linked to the development of cancers of the pancreas, cervix, ovary (mucinous), colon/rectum, kidney, stomach, and some types of leukemia. Cigars and pipes cause cancers, too.

It's hard to quit tobacco

Addiction to nicotine in cigarettes is one of the strongest and most deadly addictions one can have. Quitting is hard for many people who smoke. It takes commitment and starts with a plan, often takes more than one quit attempt, and requires a lot of support. Often, the younger one was when he or she started to smoke, the more intense the addiction.

Smokers are strongly advised to use proven cessation methods, such as prescription medications and counseling, to quit smoking. It’s a good idea to talk to your doctor or pharmacist to get their advice.

Research shows that smokers are most successful in their efforts to stop smoking when they have support, such as:

·         Telephone quitlines

·         American Cancer Society Freshstart Program

·         Nicotine Anonymous meetings

·         Self-help books and materials

·         Smoking counselors or coaches

·         Encouragement and support from friends and family members

Using 2 or more of these measures to quit smoking works better than using any one of them alone. For example, some people use a prescription medicine along with nicotine replacement. Other people may use as many as 3 or 4 of the methods listed above. Professional guidance can help you choose the approach that’s right for you.

The Iowa Quitline and The American Cancer Society can help

The Iowa Quitline is a great resource that offers smoking cessation and has many tools for the tobacco user, health care providers, and family members/friends assisting the tobacco user:

Quitting may not be easy, but you can do it and the American Cancer Society can help. The American Cancer Society is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to provide support, from questions about quitting smoking to looking for national or local resources to help you quit. To find out more, visit  or call 1-800-227-2345.

For free social support on Facebook, please “like” the American Cancer Society’s Quit For Life page.

Visit  to learn more about quitting smoking or improving your health. Or simply call the American Cancer Society any time at 1-800-227-2345.