Great American Smokeout 2022
Today is the Great American Smokeout. It is a day to help people quit smoking. It started more than 40 years ago in 1974 with the first D-Day, or Don’t Smoke Day. The idea was well received and two years later in 1976, the California division of the American Cancer Society was able to get one million people to quit for a day. It became a nationwide event one year later. Many changes have been made to protect public health since then including restaurants and workplaces becoming smoke free. This not only protects people who choose not to smoke, it helps people who want to quit follow through with their plan.
The goal of the Great American Smokeout is to prevent deaths and chronic illnesses caused by smoking. State and local governments responded by banning smoking in the workplace and restaurants, raising taxes on cigarettes, limiting the promotion of cigarettes, discouraging teen cigarette use, and other counter smoking actions. Tobacco laws have helped reduce the use of cigarettes. Cigarette smoking in adults reduced from 42 percent in 1965 to 15.5 percent in 2016. Certain smoke free policies, media campaigns, and price increases of tobacco products have contributed to the decrease.
Smoking is extremely dangerous and leads to around 29 percent of all cancer deaths. Lung cancer, which is mainly cased by smoking, is the largest cause of cancer deaths in the United States. Smoking can also cause cancers of the larynx, mouth, sinuses, pharynx, esophagus, and bladder. Studies have also linked the activity to pancreas, cervix, ovary, colon, rectum, kidney, and stomach cancers as well as leukemia. All types of tobacco can lead to these cancers, so cigar and pipe smoking are just as dangerous as cigarettes. Currently, around 37.8 million Americans smoke cigarettes. Half of Americans who continue to smoke will die because if it and around 480,000 Americans die from illnesses caused by smoking every year, which means smoking is the cause of 1 in 5 deaths in the United States.
Due to tobacco legislation, cigarette usage has been greatly reduced. In 1990, domestic flights that were six hours or less became smoke free. Another win for the country happened when the Master Settlement Agreement was passed. This made tobacco companies pay $206 billion to 45 states by the year 2025 to pay for Medicaid costs of people who smoke. The Tobacco Institute was closed and cartoon advertising and billboards for tobacco were ended as well. In 2017 tobacco companies were ordered to publish a corrective statement describing the dangers of tobacco including its addictiveness and deadly effects on human health. Corrective statements had to be put in major newspapers from November 2017 through April 2018 and major television networks from November 2017 through November 2018.
If you smoke, make a plan to quit smoking today. Your best chance for success is stopping today or a day within the next two weeks. The next step is to tell family and friends about your plan to quit. Their support can be the difference between keeping the promise to quit and continuing to smoke. Knowing ways to cope with the urge to smoke is also important. The feeling lasts only three to five minutes, but the feeling can be intense. Different coping strategies include adopting a positive attitude (visualizing a smoke free life), staying busy, drinking lots of water, avoiding activities where the urge to smoke is strong, listening to your favorite music, playing a game, diving into hobbies, calling or texting a friend, attending a quit smoking class, calling a Quitline, or using FDA approved quit-smoking medicines. It is also recommended to remove tobacco from the home, car, and workplace and to speak to a pharmacist, doctor, or coach about quitting options. Whatever coping strategy you use, quitting smoking is possible and your health and other people’s health and wellbeing will benefit from your choice.
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