Today is a Great Day to Quit: Great American Smokeout, November 19, 2015

Tobacco is the leading cause of preventable and premature death and accounts for an estimated 443,000 deaths (includes those who smoke and those exposed to secondhand smoke) in the United States each year. (1)    In 2012, the US adult population smoking rate was 17.8% and the North Carolina adult smoking rate was 20.9%. (2,3) Thirteen percent (13%) of Wake County adults smoke. (4)

The effects of smoking extend to others as there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke, hence choosing to quit benefits not only yourself, but those around you!

Started in the 1970’s, the Great American Smokeout takes place every year on the third Thursday of November, as a way to empower smokers to quit, at least for the day, if not for a lifetime.

Quitting smoking is not an easy task. Here are some tips to quit and overcome the challenge and cravings (5):

  • Pick the date and mark it on your calendar
  • Tell friends and family about your Quit Day
  • Get rid of all cigarettes and ashtrays in your home, car and at work
  • Take care of yourself – eat right, sleep well, and exercise
  • Spend time in places where smoking is not permitted or present
  • Practice saying, “No thank you, I don’t smoke”
  • Identify triggers and/or activities associated with smoking (e.g. regular breaks at work; drinking alcohol or coffee; stressful situations)
  • Stock up on items to satisfy your hand-to-mouth habit: hold a pencil/pen, toothpick, straw, sugarless gum, sugar-free lollipops, etc.
  • Take deep breaths to relax
  • Call a friend, family member, or the Quitline when you need extra help or support
  • Think about past quit attempts and try to figure out what worked best and what didn’t. By practicing these tips, your urges for a cigarette should lessen over time.
  • If you want to quit, choose the Great American Smokeout as your quit date!

To see how your body recovers within minutes of quitting view the infographic and share with others.

Infographic about how the bod responds to quitting smoking.

Need help quitting: Contact or 1-800-Quit-Now.


1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2011). Tobacco Use: Targeting the nation’s Leading Killer. Retrieved October 21, 2015 

2 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2015). Current Cigarette Smoking Among Adults—United States, 2005–2013. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 2014;63(47):1108–12.

3 Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. (2015). Key state-specific tobacco-related data & rankings. Retrieved October 21, 2015.

4 County health rankings indicators and measurements-Wake County, NC-2015. Retrieved October 21, 2015.

5 American Cancer Society. (2015). Quitting smoking: Help for cravings and tough situations. Retrieved October 21, 2015.