The Great American Smokeout might conjure up images of juicy smoked briskets and delectable racks of saucy ribs, but that's not what this event is about. It carries far more weight than that. The American Cancer Society has been hosting the Great American Smokeout for over 40 years. Its mission? To encourage smoking Americans to take that lifesaving first step in kicking the habit. It's common knowledge that smoking is bad for our health and leads to countless diseases, including numerous forms of cancer. Despite that knowledge, about 38 million Americans continue to light up every day.
The First Great American SmokeoutInspired by a couple of smaller anti-smoking events in the early 1970s in Massachusetts and Minnesota, the California Division of the American Cancer Society held an event on November 18, 1976, that got almost one million smokers to quit smoking for the day. This marked the first official Smokeout and it went nationwide the next year.
Every third Thursday in November is now set aside for the Great American Smokeout. Marked by rallies and parades throughout the U.S.A, it’s a chance for individuals and organizations of all kinds to challenge smokers in their communities to finally quit, whether that means using the day to make their smoking cessation plan or using it to officially mark the first day of their smoke-free journey.Smoking can be a long-time addiction for many Americans, so you might wonder how this one day can help. Thanks to events like this over the years, there have been countless advancements in anti-smoking laws and policies.
1977: Berkeley, California, becomes the first community to eliminate smoking in restaurants and other public locations. 1990: A Federal smoke-free law takes effect restricting smoking on all domestic flights of six hours or less. 1999: Cigarette manufacturers are hit with a suit from the Department of Justice, charging them for defrauding the public by lying about the serious risks of tobacco use. 2009: The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act is passed into law. Through this, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) is given the power to regulate all manufacturing, selling and marketing of tobacco products to the American public.