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Nov. 17 was the 47th Great American Smokeout

ACS encourages year-round commitment to a smoke- and tobacco-free life.

Thursday, Nov.17, may be just one day – but for people who smoke, it could be the right day to commit to a new direction.

Thursday is the 47th annual Great American Smokeout® (GASO), which the American Cancer Society uses as an opportunity to encourage people to commit to a smoke- and tobacco-free life – not just for a day, but year-round. This annual event, held on the third Thursday in November, is designed to encourage people who smoke to start a journey toward a smoke-free life. By focusing on one day, and one step, this event acknowledges quitting smoking isn’t easy – that it takes time, and a plan. It doesn’t happen overnight. 

Smoking is the single largest preventable cause of death and illness in the world. In the US, about 34 million American adults still smoke cigarettes. We know smoking causes an estimated 480,000 deaths every year – that’s about 1 in 5 deaths. While we are making progress in the US against tobacco, with smoking rates declining significantly during the past few decades, that progress has been inconsistent across different groups.Team members and volunteers can help spread the word about this important event by sharing key messages on social media and amplifying content from ACS social media channels and using the hashtag #GreatAmericanSmokeout. A few key points to keep in mind: 

  • It’s never too late to quit smoking.
  • The decision to quit smoking is one only you can make.
  • There are many ways to quit, and some work better than others.
  • Quitting smoking is a process and success may look different for different people.
  • Quitting may not be easy, but you can do it with the right support, and the American Cancer Society can help.
  • There is no better time to quit. The CDC lists smoking as one of the conditions that might put a person at an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
  • Quitting smoking is a process, and success may look different for different people. There are many ways to quit smoking, and some work better than others. The American Cancer Society can share the steps to quit smoking and help find quit-smoking programs, resources, and support to increase chances of quitting successfully.

GASO began in the 1970s – a time when smoking and secondhand smoke exposure were common – and has helped change attitudes about smoking across the country since that time.

Learn more about GASO at and encourage people in your life who smoke to visit that site to make a plan to quit. Available resources include the new ACS free smoking cessation program, based on ACS-funded tobacco cessation research Empowered To Quit.

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