The American Cancer Society is marking the 39th Great American Smokeout on Nov. 19 by encouraging smokers to use the date to make a plan to quit or to plan in advance and quit smoking that day. By doing so, smokers will be taking an important step towards a healthier life — one that can lead to reducing cancer risk.
Every year on the third Thursday of November, smokers across the nation take part in the Great American Smokeout. The event challenges people to stop using tobacco and helps people find out about the many tools they can use to quit for good.
The Smokeout has helped dramatically change Americans’ attitudes about smoking. These changes have led to community programs and smoke-free laws that are now saving lives in many states.
Annual Smokeouts began in the 1970s when smoking and secondhand smoke were commonplace. The idea of the Smokeout grew from a 1971 event in Randolph, Massachusetts, at which Arthur P. Mullaney asked people to give up cigarettes for a day and donate the money they would have spent on cigarettes to a high school scholarship fund.
In 1974, Lynn R. Smith, editor of the Monticello Times in Minnesota, spearheaded the state’s first D-Day, or Don’t Smoke Day. From there, the idea caught on and on November 18, 1976, the California Division of the American Cancer Society got nearly 1 million smokers to quit for the day.
The Society took it nationwide in 1977, and since then, there have been dramatic changes in the way society views tobacco advertising and tobacco use. Many public places and work areas are now smoke-free, which protects nonsmokers and supports smokers who want to quit.
Research shows that smokers are most successful in kicking the habit when they have support such as nicotine replacement products, counseling, stop-smoking groups, telephone smoking cessation hotlines, prescription medicine to lessen cravings, guide books, and encouragement and support from friends and family members.
Fortunately, the past few decades have seen great strides in changing attitudes about smoking, understanding the addiction, and learning how to help people quit.
Today, the Smokeout is celebrated with events that vary from community to community.
Turkey Trot 5K run/walk
For the past six years, the Hill AFB Health Promotions Office, Civilian Health Promotion Services and the Warrior Fitness Center have sponsored a “Turkey Trot” 5K fun run/walk in celebration and support of the Great American Smokeout. This year the Turkey Trot will be held on the Smokeout day, from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Nov. 19. Registration will be at the Warrior Fitness Center.
The first 75 people to sign up will receive a beanie and there will be a turkey for the first-place male and female winners. All participants will also have a chance to win a turkey by drawing and turkey bowling.
Smoking cessation classes/support
Hill AFB Health Promotions provides weekly smoking cessation classes/support. To enroll, call 801-777-1215. For the Great American Smokeout, Health Promotions will also have “Quit Bags” for those making the attempt to quit for the day.
Information in this article is courtesy www.cancer.org.