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Great American Smokeout --- November 18, 2004

In 2002, a total of 45.8 million U.S. adults (22.5%) were current smokers, a decrease from 24.1% in 1998, and an estimated 46 million adults were former smokers (1). For the first time, more adults had quit smoking than were still smoking (1). To assist in continuing this trend, the American Cancer Society (ACS) is sponsoring the 28th Great American Smokeout on November 18, 2004. Cigarette smokers are encouraged to quit smoking for at least 24 hours in the hope they might stop smoking.

The likelihood of permanently quitting smoking is increased when effective therapies are used, such as physician assistance, pharmacologic treatment, and behavioral counseling (2). In addition to individual methods, an environmental approach to reducing tobacco use involves increasing the excise tax for tobacco products, developing multicomponent mass media campaigns, fostering provider reminder systems, using telephone quitlines, reducing patient out-of-pocket costs for effective cessation therapies, and reducing exposure to secondhand smoke through smoking bans and restrictions (3). Additional information about the Great American Smokeout is available at or by telephone, 800-227-2345.


  1. CDC. Cigarette smoking among adults---United States, 2002. MMWR 2004;53:427--31.
  2. Fiore MC, Bailey WC, Cohen SJ, et al. Treating tobacco use and dependence: clinical practice guidelines. Rockville, MD: US Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service; 2000. AHQR publication 00-0032.
  3. CDC. Strategies for reducing exposure to environmental tobacco smoke, increasing tobacco-use cessation, and reducing initiation in communities and health-care systems: a report on recommendations of the Task Force on Community Preventive Services. MMWR 2000;49(No. RR-12):2--9.

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