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The Great American Smokeout -- November 20, 1997

In 1994, an estimated 48 million U.S. adults were current cigarette smokers; in 1996, at least 4 million U.S. adolescents were current cigarette smokers (1,2). Since 1977, the American Cancer Society (ACS) has sponsored the Great American Smokeout to promote community-based activities that encourage smokers to refrain from smoking cigarettes for at least 24 hours. This year, the Great American Smokeout is Thursday, November 20. This nationwide effort can increase cessation attempts (3): for example, the 1996 promotion was associated with helping an estimated 7400 persons quit smoking (4). This year's promotion focuses on the prevention of both cigar and cigarette smoking and cautions children and adolescents never to start smoking.

Activities this year will include the ACS Commit to Quit program, which helps smokers choose a method of quitting that meets their personal needs. In addition, ACS volunteers will conduct smoking-cessation and smoking-prevention activities for persons of all ages at shopping malls, work sites, hospitals, military installations, and other locations.

Additional information is available from ACS, telephone (800) 227-2345 or (404) 320-3333; CDC, telephone (800) 232-1311 or (770) 488-5705; or the ACS Great American Smokeout website on the World-Wide Web (

Reported by: American Cancer Society, Atlanta, Georgia. Office on Smoking and Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, CDC.


  1. CDC. Cigarette smoking among adults -- United States, 1994. MMWR 1996;45:588-90.

  2. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. National Household Survey on Drug Abuse: preliminary results from the 1996 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse. Rockville, Maryland: US Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 1997; DHHS publication no. (SMA)97-3149.

  3. Hantula DA, Stillman FA, Waranch HR. Can a mass media campaign modify tobacco smoking in a large organization? Evaluation of the Great American Smokeout in an urban hospital. J Organ Behavior Management 1992;13:33-47.

  4. CDC. Impact of promotion of the Great American Smokeout and availability of over-the-counter nicotine medications, 1996. MMWR 1997;46:867-71.

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