Today marks the 34th annual American Cancer Society Great American Smokeout. The event happens every year on the third Thursday of November and challenges smokers to smoke less or even mark this day as the beginning to a new, cigarette-free lifestyle.
As we point out on our Causes of Cancer page, smoking tobacco, smokeless tobacco, and regular exposure to tobacco smoke are responsible for one-third of all cancer deaths in the United States each year.
According to the American Cancer Society, the Great American Smokeout evolved from the state of Minnesota's Don't Smoke Day, which was spearheaded by Lynn R. Smith in 1974. Two years later, the California Division of the American Cancer Society was able to get almost 1 million smokers to quit for the day. The ACS expanded the event to the entire nation in 1977.
If you're a smoker looking to quit for the day (or longer), the Great American Smokeout website offers lots of tips and resources to help smokers learn how to successfully quit the habit.