Great American Smokeout

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The Great American Smokeout is an annual social engineering event on the third Thursday of November by the American Cancer Society.[1] The event encourages Americans, of whom 43.8 million smoke as of June 2013,[2] to stop tobacco smoking. The event challenges people to stop smoking cigarettes for 24 hours, hoping their decision not to smoke will last forever.


The first Great American Smokeout was held in San Francisco's Union Square on November 16, 1977.[3] The event evolved from a series of smaller-scale initiatives. In 1970, in Randolph, Massachusetts, Arthur P. Mullaney suggested people give up cigarettes for a day and donate the money to a local high school. In 1974, a "Don't Smoke Day" (or "D-Day") was promoted by Lynn R. Smith of the Monticello Times in Monticello, Minnesota.[1] On November 18, 1976, the California Division of the American Cancer Society successfully prompted nearly one million smokers to quit for the day. That California event marked the first Smokeout.[1][4]

The name has resulted in some confusion due to colloquial usage of the term smokeout, which, (among other things), suggests an activity centered around a large amount of solo or group smoking.

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