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The Great American Smokeout -- November 15, 1990

For each of the last 14 years, the American Cancer Society (ACS) has sponsored the Great American Smokeout to focus attention on tobacco use and encourage smokers to refrain from smoking cigarettes for at least 24 hours. Local activities have included requests by local ACS offices to stores to not sell cigarettes for the day; media coverage of prominent local citizens who have quit smoking; and implementation of a smoke-free day by restaurants and other public places. In 1989, approximately one third of all smokers (nearly 18 million persons) participated in the Smokeout (1). Of these, approximately 5.3 million did not smoke at all on the day of the Smokeout, and an estimated 3.9 million refrained from smoking 1-3 days later. More than 85% of persons surveyed by the Gallup Organization after the Smokeout had heard of the event (1).

By 1987, almost half of all living Americans who ever smoked had quit. The proportion of persons who quit for at least 1 day in the 12 months preceding national surveys increased from 27.8% in 1978 to 31.5% in 1987 (2).

This year, the Smokeout will be held Thursday, November 15. The goal is to ensure that at least one in every five smokers gives up cigarettes for the 24-hour period. Additional information is available from local offices of the ACS; phone numbers of the local offices are available from the national office (telephone (800) ACS-2345).


  1. Lieberman Research Inc. A study of the impact of the 1989 Great American Smokeout: summary, Gallup Organization. New York: American Cancer Society, 1989.

  2. CDC. The health benefits of smoking cessation: a report of the Surgeon General, 1990. Rockville, Maryland: US Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, 1990; DHHS publication no. (CDC)90-8416.

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