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The Great American Smokeout®

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It's a great day to become a quitter!

November 18, 2021 can be a memorable date in history if you decide today’s the day to quit smoking. It’s the date for this year’s Great American Smokeout® – a day to decide for yourself or encourage someone you care for to quit the smoking habit.

This annual event takes place 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.

Fast forward 45 years, and about 32.4 million American adults still smoke cigarettes. Smoking remains the single largest preventable cause of death and illness in the world. Smoking causes an estimated 480,000 deaths every year, or about 1 in 5 deaths. And more than 16 million Americans live with a smoking-related disease.

The good news is that according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, slightly more than 34 percent of American adults smoked in 1978. Today that number is down to less than 17 percent. That's a big drop. But we want the numbers even lower, and it starts with you.

You can quit too!

Making the choice to quit is the first step, and the good news is that there are many resources to help you on your journey to improved health. Tools you can use have increased exponentially since that first Great American Smokeout event took place, including:

  • Over-the-counter nicotine replacement gum, patches and other products
  • Prescription medicine to help ease cravings
  • Free help by phone or online from trained counselors at the National Cancer Institute: Tools & Tips | Smokefree
  • A national network of tobacco cessation quit lines: 800-QUIT-NOW (800-784-8669).
  • Free support and tips by text message. Sign up at SmokefreeTXT | Smokefree or text QUIT to 47848
  • Apps for smartphones. You can learn more about the quitSTART | Smokefree app here:
  • Free tips and tools from the ACS at

Freedom from smoking

If you'd like to quit using tobacco, please talk with your doctor about ways he or she can help. Make this year the one that you finally say good riddance to smoking—forever!