This year, on November 15, the American Cancer Society is holding their 43rd annual Great American Smokeout (GASO). This event encourages current smokers to take action and steps towards quitting tobacco and living a healthier life. Providers, employers, and other organizations host many different events in honor of this day, and they all encourage current smokers to use this day as a starting point for their quit-plan. The GASO has also helped to kick-start new initiatives that have limited the acceptability and availability of tobacco in our communities, and has led to numerous positive policy changes. This included the banning of smoking in offices and food establishments, increasing the taxation of cigarettes, and most recently the push in 2017 for U.S. tobacco companies to publish a variety of corrective advertisements and statements revealing information about the harmful products they sell.
The Great American Smokeout began in the 1970s, after an event in Randolph, Massachusetts took place and sparked the idea of quitting for one day. This first-noted event encouraged people to give up smoking for one day, and instead of spending that money on cigarettes, they would donate it to a scholarship fund. This idea caught on in other areas that started their own non-smoking days, and eventually in 1976 the first official American Cancer Society Smokeout took place.
This year’s theme for the GASO is, “Day 1” in reference to the journey and plan that smokers must make in order to quit and stay smoke-free for life. Day 1 can mean any number of things, whether it be the first day you go without a cigarette, the first day you think about quitting, or the first day in your journey towards quitting smoking for good. This event can be a starting point for those looking to better their lives. The GASO is a day where providers, employers, friends, and family can all rally around those who smoke to encourage and support them in their efforts to quit smoking, reduce smoking, and getting healthier.
Quitting tobacco isn’t easy, but it can start with just one day of action. The first step can start with the Great American Smokeout event, by taking advantage of offered resources, events, and encouragement from those participating in this event. With the support of those around you, the journey towards freedom from smoking and related health issues can be easier than you think. At Suwannee River Area Health Education Center (SRAHEC) we continue to offer free tobacco cessation tools year-round, so your Day 1 can be any day. For more information on tools to quit, creating a personal quit-plan, or options for nicotine replacement therapy, please call us at 866-341-2730 or see upcoming group schedules in your area at www.ahectobacco.com.
American Cancer Society. https://www.cancer.org/healthy/stay-away-from-tobacco/great-american-smokeout.html
Author: Jordan Crummett