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Great American Smokeout --- November 16, 2000

In 1998, one fourth of U.S. adults smoked cigarettes; in 1999, one in 10 U.S. middle school students and nearly one in three U.S. high school students smoked cigarettes (1,2). Helping smokers quit by implementing science-based methods and comprehensive approaches outlined in Reducing Tobacco Use: A Report of the Surgeon General is critical to reducing deaths, illness, and disability attributable to smoking-related causes and to achieving the national health objective for 2010 of reducing adult and adolescent smoking prevalence by half (3,4). Consistent with the Surgeon General's report, evidence-based Public Health Service (PHS) guidelines (5) outline effective clinical interventions to help smokers quit.

The American Cancer Society (ACS) hosts the 24th annual Great American Smokeout, Thursday, November 16, to encourage smokers to quit tobacco use for at least 24 hours. Despite effective therapies to combat tobacco use, most smokers still try to quit without assistance (6). Without assistance, however, most smokers are not able to sustain a quit attempt.

Smokers should use the Great American Smokeout to obtain treatments from their physicians that help convert their quit attempt into successful long-term cessation. As part of the Great American Smokeout, ACS volunteers provide smoking-cessation and smoking-prevention activities at the local ACS offices. Health-care systems should use the Great American Smokeout to implement the PHS guidelines on treatment for tobacco use to ensure that all smokers receive appropriate treatment.

Additional information is available from ACS, telephone (800) 227-2345, World-Wide Web site; or from CDC, telephone (800) 232-1311, World-Wide Web site


  1. CDC. Cigarette smoking among adults---United States, 1998. MMWR 2000;49:881--4.
  2. CDC. Youth tobacco surveillance---United States, 1998--1999. In: CDC surveillance summaries (October). MMWR 2000;49(no. SS-10).
  3. US Department of Health and Human Services. Reducing tobacco use: a report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, Georgia: US Department of Health and Human Services, CDC, 2000.
  4. US Department of Health and Human Services. Healthy people 2010 (conference ed, 2 vols). Washington, DC: US Department of Health and Human Services, January 2000.
  5. Fiore MC, Bailey WC, Cohen SJ, et al. Treating tobacco use and dependence: clinical practice guideline. Rockville, Maryland: US Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, 2000.
  6. Yankelovich Partners. Smoking cessation study. Norwalk, Connecticut: Yankelovich Partners, 1998. Available at: Accessed August 15, 2000.

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