The Great American Smokeout 2008: Quit Smoking Today
Today is the day to quit smoking - for 24 hours, anyway. The Great American Smokeout was launched in 1997 by the American Cancer Society in an effort to encourage smokers to butt out for at least 24 hours. Smokers can take advantage of additional support and resources today, with the ultimate goal being long-term quitting. But support isn't all that's offered...free giveaways, staged events and slogans provide are a few good-natured tactics used to encourage smokers to breathe easier.
The smoking rate among Americans has fallen steadily since the 1964 Surgeon General's report, from 42% that year to 19.8% of adults in 2007, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Smokeout organizers claim some responsibility, saying the campaign "set the stage for the cultural revolution in tobacco control that has occurred over this period." For younger generations of Americans, it's hard to imagine that as recently as the 1980s smoking was allowed on commercial airplanes and in hospitals. The Smokeout has helped, to be sure, but so too have restrictions on tobacco advertising, local bans, and, notably, the Tobacco Master Settlement, which ordered cigarette makers to pay some $200 billion to states to cover smoking-related health costs and public education efforts. The 10-year anniversary of the settlement is this month.
This year, the Great American Smokeout will extend throughout the weekend with a new event called Stay Quit Monday.