Great American Smokeout

The third Thursday of November is annually observed as the Great American Smokeout. This event raises awareness on the hazards associated with tobacco and the dangers of nicotine addiction. This event was organized by the American Cancer Society in 1977. It was initiated to get smokers to quit for at least one day. It has been observed every year since.

Smoking annually causes about 1 out of 5 deaths in the United States. Cigarette smoking is the single leading cause of cancer death in the United States, accounting for 29% of all cancer deaths.  In the United States alone, smoking is responsible for 480,000 deaths each year. That figure dramatically increases worldwide. Millions suffer from smoking-related illnesses. The Great American Smokeout is a day designed for smokers to begin choosing a smoke-free lifestyle. Quitting smoking can significantly reduces the risk of some serious lifestyle diseases. Smoking is the single largest preventable cause of death and illness in the world.

Decades ago, research showed that smoking resulted in lung cancer and other respiratory diseases. It was also shown that those living with a smoker suffered from second-hand smoke. Since the 1970s, many smokers have quit. Yet about 34 million Americans still smoke. Nicotine in cigarettes is one of the strongest and most deadly addictions. Unfortunately over the past decade many switched to e-cigarettes, (also know as vaping), which contain an even higher concentration of nicotine than combustible cigarettes.

According to the National Institutes of Health, “Electronic cigarettes are battery-operated devices that use an electric pulse to heat and aerosolize a flavored liquid that typically contains nicotine. They were first introduced to the U.S. in 2007, and they were advertised by the tobacco companies as an adjunct method to help patients quit smoking. This claim never had evidence to support it, as studies comparing the use of electronic cigarettes, placebos, and nicotine patches demonstrated no significant differences in abstinence rates. But because e-cigarettes were seen as a treatment option, they were not subjected to the same regulations as combustible cigarettes. It wasn’t until 2016 that the Congress passed the Child Nicotine Poisoning Prevention Act, giving the FDA the authority to regulate e-cigarette packaging.”

Current research on vaping indicates that what was thought to be a healthier replacement for smoking is actually more deadly. Since being introduced in 2007, vaping has dramatically increased, especially in adolescents and high schoolers. It is now considered a national epidemic.

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. If you or a loved one needs help with a smoking addiction the American Cancer Society can help. To discover more, call 1-800-227-2345 or visit: