American Cancer Society's 31st Annual Great American Smokeout®
New Interactive Resources Help Smokers Quit
NOTE: Click here
for a quit-smoking message from the Editor
November 4, 2007 — The American Cancer Society will celebrate the 31st
anniversary of the Great American Smokeout on Thursday, November 15.
With exactly half of the United States, including Massachusetts, now
protected by smoke-free laws, and a variety of cessation resources
available, there has never been a better time to quit smoking and enjoy
the health benefits.
On November 15, Americans who smoke and want to
quit are urged to call the American Cancer Society's Quitline®, a
clinically proven, free telephone-based counseling program, at
1-800-ACS-2345, or to log on to
www.cancer.org/greatamericans, to embark on a personal plan to quit.
"The American Cancer Society is here to help smokers
who want to quit, and we have an abundance of resources to assist. We
urge smokers to learn more about quitting and make a plan to begin a
smoke-free life by calling the Society's Quitline at 1-800-ACS-2345,"
said Janet McGrail, American Cancer Society State Vice President for
The Great American Smokeout Web site (www.cancer.org/greatamericans)
will feature new desktop helpers, including a Quit Clock and a Craving
Stopper. These tools can be downloaded to a computer desktop to help
smokers pick a quit day, prepare for quitting, and offer support during
and after quitting. In addition, the site will continue to provide tips,
tools, and resources, as well as the successful Quitline call back
feature, which allows smokers to submit a short form to be directly
contacted by a trained specialist who will provide assistance during a
The Society's Quitline staff have provided support to
more than 280,000 smokers since its inception in 2000. In New England,
9,213 people quit smoking by using the Society's Quitline services from
January of 2006 through December of 2006. During that same period more
than 2,600 New England residents called for information. Studies have
shown that 41 percent of the estimated 45.4 million Americans who smoke
have tried to quit for at least one day in the past year and more than
40 percent of people who were contacted six months after completing the
Quitline program remained smoke-free, which puts the Society's quit
rates among the highest in the industry.
American Cancer Society researchers in 2006 reported that
reductions in smoking account for about 40 percent of the decrease in
cancer death rates among men between 1991 and 2003, and have prevented
at least 146,000 deaths during that time. Although lung cancer incidence
and death rates have declined overall, lung cancer remains the leading
cause of cancer in both men and women, claiming the lives of an
estimated 160,390 Americans this year. Cigarette smoking is by far the
most important risk factor for lung cancer. In the U.S., tobacco use is
responsible for nearly one in five deaths, taking approximately 438,000
lives each year.
According to the U.S. Surgeon General in 1990, people
who quit smoking, regardless of age, live longer than people who
continue to smoke, and quitting smoking substantially decreases the risk
of lung, laryngeal, esophageal, oral, pancreatic, bladder , and cervical
"With exactly half of country now protected by smoke-free
laws, the lifesaving results of comprehensive tobacco control efforts in
the United States are clear," added Marc Hymovitz, American Cancer
Society Director of Government Relations and Advocacy in Massachusetts.
"Comprehensive tobacco control programs that include increased tobacco
excise taxes, anti-tobacco media campaigns and indoor smoke-free
workplace laws effectively reduce cigarette smoking."
In Massachusetts this year, the American Cancer Society
is advocating to make sure a successful smoking cessation pilot program
for MassHealth recipients is made permanent. The smoking cessation pilot
program gives the 40 percent of MassHealth subscribers who smoke access
to quit-smoking tools like the patch, medicines, and counseling. The
Society is also engaged in a number of anti-tobacco advocacy initiatives
such as smoking cessation, youth marketing restrictions, and increasing
the state's tobacco tax. "By continuing efforts to reduce exposure to
toxic secondhand smoke, and helping more Americans quit smoking, we will
continue to make progress against cancer," said Hymovitz.
The American Cancer Society Great American Smokeout
grew out of a 1971 event in Randolph, Mass., in which Arthur P. Mullaney
asked people to give up cigarettes for a day and donate the money they
would have spent on cigarettes to a high school scholarship fund. In
1974, Lynn R. Smith, editor of the Monticello Times in Minnesota,
spearheaded the state's first D-Day, or Don't Smoke Day. The idea caught
on, and on Nov. 18, 1976, the California Division of the American Cancer
Society succeeded in getting nearly one million smokers to quit for the
day. That California event marked the first Great American Smokeout,
which went nationwide the next year.
The Great American Smokeout is part of the American
Cancer Society Great American Health Challenge, a year-round initiative
that encourages Americans to adopt healthy lifestyles to reduce their
risk of cancer. More information on the Great American Health Challenge
is available at
www.cancer.org/greatamericans or by calling 1-800-ACS-2345.
The American Cancer Society is dedicated to eliminating
cancer as a major health problem by saving lives, diminishing suffering
and preventing cancer through research, education, advocacy and service.
Founded in 1913 and with national headquarters in Atlanta, the Society
has 13 regional Divisions and local offices in 3,400 communities,
involving millions of volunteers across the United States. For more
information anytime, call toll free 1-800-ACS-2345 or visit