Every year on the third Thursday of November, people across America take part in the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout to raise awareness about the importance of quitting smoking and help people learn about reducing their cancer risk. By showing yourself that you can quit smoking for one day, you are showing that you can quit for two days, two months and even longer!
Whether you’re learning about the Great American Smokeout for the first time or are a long-time volunteer or participant, there are so many reasons to celebrate your smokefree future with quitters across the country during this year’s event.
Reasons to Quit During Great American Smokeout
There’s no universal right time to quit smoking. However, there are plenty of good reasons to make the Great American Smokeout your Quit Day. One day smokefree can help set you on the path toward a smokefree life. Some benefits of quitting during the Great American Smokeout include:
- Support from across the country! The Great American Smokeout engages quitters and supporters from across the entire country. In a survey of 146 adult smokers who were trying to quit, 80% said support from family, friends and co-workers was very important in helping them quit smoking. Just imagine the enthusiasm of a community of quitters throughout America.
- Showing yourself you CAN become smokefree: Just think: if you can get through 24 hours, what’s stopping you from 48 hours, or more? Use your progress during the 24 hours of the Great American Smokeout as momentum to get inspired and keep up the quit long term.
- Resources and activities: The American Cancer Society and American Lung Association both provide networks of support to help make the Great American Smokeout a great day to stop smoking.
Ways to Make the Great American Smokeout Meaningful
Make this year’s Great American Smokeout different from any other day. There are plenty of ways to make its impact last longer than just 24 hours.
- Donate the money you’d spend on cigarettes for the day – If you’re a pack-a-day smoker, the savings from not buying cigarettes can add up to more than $2,200 for an entire year smokefree, based on the national average of $6.28 for a pack of cigarettes. So while $6.28 might not seem like a lot today, it really adds up! In honor of Great American Smokeout, consider donating that money to a health-related cause you feel strongly about. Ask your family and friends to match your donation – it’s a small act on their part that will truly count and rally their support for your smokefree future!
- Donate the time you’d spend smoking cigarettes to volunteer – The average smoker takes about five minutes to smoke a cigarette. If you’re a pack-a-day smoker, that adds up to about 100 minutes every day! Spend your smokefree minutes helping others, whether that’s with organizations celebrating Great American Smokeout, or through another local organization you believe in.
- Spend the day with another quitter and help each other throughout the day – The first 24 hours smokefree can be tough. Tell a smoking buddy about the Great American Smokeout and your plan to make it your Quit Day. Hold each other accountable throughout the day by sending each other motivational text messages. And keep the momentum going and support each other on in for the long haul of the quit journey!
Make the Great American Smokeout last a lifetime. Keep in mind, though, that the majority of quitters are not able to quit cold turkey. If you’re not ready to quit on the Great American Smokeout, or if you need to set a new Quit Date down the road, don’t worry. Learn from this attempt and make a plan for what you’d like to do differently next time. Use the day as momentum to start planning for your own Quit Date down the line. Enlisting supporters, consulting with a healthcare provider, and readying your home and self for the quit journey are all important steps to take to get ready to quit.
The Great American Smokeout is here to motivate you to work towards a smokefree life. Keep in mind – if you can quit for one day, you can quit for life.