When you hear “Great American Smokeout” you may think of barbecuing or a festival with a bunch of meat smokers around. However, that’s not what it refers to at all. In fact, the Great American Smokeout happens every third Thursday of November and focuses on helping people to kick the habit of smoking. This year, it falls on the 21st.

More About the Great American Smokeout

This awareness day started back on November 18th, 1976, in California. It only took until the following year for the event to go nationwide. The Great American Smokeout is one day of the year where people who smoke cigarettes are encouraged to quit smoking for those 24 hours (midnight to midnight). The very first year it happened, over one million people stopped smoking for that one day.

The focus of this day is to get people to stop smoking for one day in hopes that they might continue to not smoke from there on out. Each person has their own method that works for them as far as quitting goes. People are encouraged to find what works for them and to use that day to get support among others who are trying to do the same thing. It’s a wonderful way for a community of people who share the same habit, to come together and cheer each other on to quit a habit that is life-threatening. Not only for them, but those around them.

One of the more common methods that seems to work is just stopping cold turkey. Although it doesn’t work for everyone, the Great American Smokeout day is an effective way to get others involved in trying it with you. Who knows, you or those around you may find they can stick with it and throw away the habit for good.

Getting Involved

If you’re looking for support, the American Cancer Society takes part in this day and offers support to those looking for what works for them. It’s ok if you need something other than quitting cold turkey. The American Cancer Society likes to remind people that it can be a process and it doesn’t matter if you can’t kick it in one day, just start with day one. Use November 21st this year to be day one of your journey.

If you don’t struggle with smoking, odds are, you know someone who does. Statistics show that 1 in 5 adults across the US smoke. That’s over 34 million people. Not to mention, the most common cancer is lung cancer, which is largely caused by a smoking habit. Encourage your friends and family to quit the habit, get tested for lung cancer or other issues like COPD, and lend a helping hand to events in your area. The biggest way to help is to offer education and support to the smokers around you. Outside of that, practice patience in your support. Let’s make November’s Great American Smokeout a successful one this 2019.