Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Great American Smokeout

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By Diane Forrest, RN

In 1970 in Randolph, Massachusetts, Arthur P. Mullaney suggested people give up cigarettes for one day and donate the money to the local high school.  In 1974, a "Don't Smoke Day" (or "D-Day") was promoted by Lynn R. Smith of the Monticello Times in Monticello, Minnesota.  On November 18, 1976, the California Division of the American Cancer Society successfully prompted nearly one million smokers to quit for the day. That California event marked the first Smokeout.

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Every year, the third Thursday in November, the nation's Great American Smokeout is held.  Smokers are encouraged to stop smoking for one day in hopes of stopping for a life time.

  • It wasn't that long ago when smoker's used to smoke at work, in restaurant’s, and airplanes.  Watching actors on television and in movies was a common sight.
  • Because of the efforts of individuals and groups that have led anti-tobacco efforts, there have been significant landmarks in the areas of research, policy, and the environment:
  • In 1977, Berkeley, California became the first community to limit smoking in restaurants and other public places.
  • In 1983, San Francisco passed the first strong workplace smoking restrictions, including bans on smoking in private workplaces.
  • In 1990, the federal smoking ban on all interstate buses and domestic flights of six hours or less took effect.
  • In 1994, the state of Mississippi filed the first of 24 state lawsuits seeking to recuperate millions of dollars from tobacco companies for smokers' Medicaid Bills.
  • In 1999, the Department of Justice filed suit against cigarette manufacturers, charging the industry with defrauding the public by lying about the risks of smoking.
  • In 1999, the Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) was passed, requiring tobacco companies to pay $206 billion to 45 states by the year 2025 to cover Medicaid costs of treating smokers. The MSA agreement also closed the Tobacco Institute and ended cartoon advertising and tobacco billboards.
  • In 2009 "The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act" was signed into law and gives the FDA the authority to regulate the sale, manufacturing, and marketing of tobacco products and protects children from tobacco industry’s marketing practices.

Quitting is hard, but you can increase your chances of success with help. The American Cancer Society can tell you about the steps you can take to quit smoking and provide the resources and support that can increase your chances of quitting successfully.

To learn about the available tools, call the American Cancer Society at 1-800-227-2345.

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