If you smoke, find your calendar and draw a big red circle around Nov. 19. That's the date for this year's Great American Smokeout--a day that everyone who smokes is encouraged to quit.
The Smokeout has fallen on the third Thursday in November since 1976, when the California division of the American Cancer Society (ACS) convinced nearly 1 million smokers to quit for the day. The ACS took the event nationwide in 1977.
Millions more people have quit smoking over the years. According to the American Lung Association, slightly more than 34 percent of American adults smoked in 1978. Today that number is down to less than 14 percent.
That's a big drop. Still, smoking remains the No. 1 preventable cause of premature death and disease, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
No doubt, it's hard to give up smoking. But there are many more resources available today for stopping smoking than there were in 1976.
- Over-the-counter nicotine replacement gum, patches and other products.
- Prescription medicine to help ease cravings.
- A national network of tobacco cessation quitlines: 800-QUIT-NOW (800-784-8669).
- Your Watson Clinic Family Medicine or Internal Medicine physician can help you quit smoking for good. Call 863-680-7190 to schedule an appointment.
Make this year the one that you finally say good riddance to smoking--forever.