Great American Smokeout

This Thursday, November 18th, marks the Great American Smokeout (GASO), an awareness day with over 30 years of history. Each year, this day challenges and encourages smokers to go 24 hours without a cigarette. “While one day may not seem like enough time for a person to become a permanent non-smoker, this Thursday can be the first step in the challenging process of quitting,” says Teddy Nault, Tobacco Use Prevention Specialist with the City-County Health Department.

On this day, tobacco users can also be reminded of the reasons to quit and the many resources available to help. According to the CDC, there has been a decrease in adult smokers from 34% in 1978 to 21% in 2009. Many factors may have contributed to these numbers such as state legislation, reductions in advertising and increased education.

The City-County Health Department is partnering with the Great Falls Public Schools and Benefis Health System to conduct a poster contest with the GASO theme “Help Create a World with Less Cancer and More Birthdays.” Local students have been invited to lend their artistic talents in making posters to reflect the theme. The winning posters will be enlarged and displayed prominently in their schools and also on the Benefis Health System Market Place digital billboard for community viewing.

Additionally, the CMR High School reACT group will host a tobacco information booth on Thursday at the commons area of CMR High School. Over the school lunch hour, members of the group, called “reACTORS,” will be on hand to educate their peers and faculty members on the Great American Smokeout, Secondhand Smoke, the Montana Clean Indoor Air Act, the Montana Quit Line and other tobacco related subjects.

The Great American Smokeout is an annual event sponsored by the American Cancer Society (ACS) urging smokers to quit for at least one day. From its beginnings in Minnesota as “Don’t Smoke Day” in 1974, to the California state ACS chapter holding the first national “Great American Smokeout” in 1977, the event continues to be a mainstay in tobacco use education.

For more information on the Great American Smokeout, click here.