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Great American Smokeout --- November 18, 2010

The Great American Smokeout (GASO), sponsored by the American Cancer Society, is an annual event that encourages smokers to quit for at least 1 day in the hope that this might challenge them to stop permanently (1). This year, GASO will be held on November 18.

Major changes have occurred since the first GASO in 1977. In 1978, approximately 34% of adults smoked; by 2009, nearly 21% smoked (2--4). Federal laws now prohibit smoking on airlines, and 24 states and the District of Columbia have comprehensive smoking bans (3,4). The U.S. government also has added coverage of smoking cessation treatments to health plans. As of October 1, 2010, Medicaid programs are required to cover tobacco-dependence treatments for pregnant women, and in 2011, cessation coverage will be provided to all federal employees, retirees, and their spouses and dependents.

Despite progress, 46.6 million U.S. adults smoke, 40% of nonsmokers are exposed to secondhand smoke, and 443,000 deaths each year are attributed to smoking and secondhand smoke (3--5). Additional information and support for quitting is available online ( or by telephone (800-QUIT-NOW [800-784-8669]; TTY 800-332-8615).


  1. American Cancer Society. Great American Smokeout. Available at Atlanta, GA: American Cancer Society; 2010. Accessed November 2, 2010.
  2. CDC. Surveillance for selected tobacco-use behaviors---United States, 1900--1994. MMWR 1994;43(No. SS-3).
  3. CDC. Vital signs: current cigarette smoking among adults aged ≥18 years---United States, 2009. MMWR 2010;59:1135--40.
  4. CDC. Vital signs: nonsmokers' exposure to secondhand smoke---United States, 1999--2008. MMWR 2010;59:1141--6.
  5. CDC. Smoking-attributable mortality, years of potential life lost, and productivity losses---United States, 2000--2004. MMWR 2008;57:1226--8.

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