Every year, on the third Thursday of November, smokers across the nation take part in the American Cancer Society Great American Smokeout event. Encourage someone you know to use the date to make a plan to quit, or plan in advance and then quit smoking that day. By quitting smokers will be taking an important step toward a healthier life and reducing their cancer risk.
About 36.5 million Americans still smoke cigarettes, and tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the world. While cigarette smoking rates have dropped (from 42% in 1965 to 15.1% in 2015), cigar, pipe, and hookah – other dangerous and addictive ways to smoke tobacco – are very much on the rise. Smoking kills people – there's no "safe" way to smoke tobacco. One third of all cancer deaths can be blamed on tobacco.
Below are ways smokers can get help quitting:
- Call our National Cancer Information Center, 24/7, 365 days a year, at 1-800-227-2345, and press 3. From there callers will have two options, Press 1 to enroll in a coaching program, or press 2 to get answers to general questions related to smoking.
- If they choose Option 1, their call will go directly to Optum, which operates Quit For Life in partnership with ACS. The program is branded with our name and logo. If they press 2, they will reach our specialists, who can answer their tobacco-related inquiries.
- Optum will ask the caller three questions, who their employer is, the name of their health plan, and the state they live in. Optum contracts with more than 700 employers and 30 health plans, and 26 states/territories so many callers could be eligible for the free Quit For Life coaching program. Texting, chat, and nicotine replacement therapies may be available, depending on the caller's eligibility. If the caller is not eligible, they will be transferred to their state's quitline: 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669).
- Also available this year is a free mobile app for Android and IOS called American Cancer Society Quit For Life. Through it, smokers can set a date to quit, tackle urges, get pre- and post-quitting tips, and calculate how money quitting will save them. Please note that Optum is updating this app for users of the latest IOS operating system.
- And, great especially for people who have quit, is a Freshstart home page to register to become a facilitator and go through certification, both of which happen exclusively online.
Freshstart is a group-based smoking cessation program, available to hospitals, community health organizations, colleges, and other systems. Those interested in providing the program visit the Freshstart home page to register to become a facilitator and go through certification, both of which happen exclusively online.
New this year
We are partnering with Perrigo Company to promote tobacco-free living. Perrigo's Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) products in stores and online will carry our logo and 1.800 number. These products, including patches and lozenges, are sold by Amazon, Big Lots, Target, CVS, Walgreens, and Walmart. The partnership runs through January 2018.
The American Cancer Society is also exploring the research around the health impacts of Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) and other sources of nicotine. To learn more about this topic, read the September article in the American Cancer Society's CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians
More information about the Society's goals in tobacco control around all combustible forms of tobacco will be shared in early 2018.
Quitting starts with a plan, often takes time, and requires support
About 20 million people, 55% of all smokers, try to quit each year. Only about 7% or 1.5 million succeed. Quitting smoking is one of the best things a person can do for their healthy, but it's hard. That's why we are here to help.