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Great American Smokeout --- November 17, 2005

Approximately 20.9% of U.S. adults are current smokers (1), and an estimated 70% of smokers want to quit smoking (2). Since 1977, the American Cancer Society (ACS) has sponsored the Great American Smokeout each year on the third Thursday in November. Smokers are encouraged to quit for 24 hours straight in the hope they might quit permanently.

Effective interventions for increasing cessation success rates include sustained media campaigns; price increases for tobacco products; increased insurance coverage for treatment; individual, group, or telephone counseling; and approved medications. Telephone quitlines are a cost-effective and accessible way to provide smokers with counseling about cessation strategies (3,4). The National Network of Quitlines, a collaborative effort of CDC, the National Cancer Institute, state quitlines, and the North American Quitline Consortium, maintains a national telephone number (800-QUIT-NOW) that links callers to free quitlines serving their areas.

Information about the Great American Smokeout is available from ACS at telephone, 800-227-2345, or from a local ACS office. Information on smoking cessation is also available at


  1. CDC. Cigarette smoking among adults---United States, 2004. MMWR 2005;54:1121--4.
  2. CDC. Cigarette smoking among adults---United States, 2000. MMWR 2002;51:642--5.
  3. CDC. Strategies for reducing exposure to environmental tobacco smoke, increasing tobacco-use cessation, and reducing initiation in communities and health-care systems. MMWR 2000;49(No. RR-12).
  4. Fiore MC, Bailey WC, Cohen SJ, et al. Treating tobacco use and dependence: clinical practice guideline. Rockville, MD: US Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service; 2000.

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Date last reviewed: 11/9/2005


Safer, Healthier People

Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report
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