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Great American Smokeout --- November 17, 2011

The Great American Smokeout, sponsored by the American Cancer Society, is an annual event that encourages smokers to quit for at least 1 day in the hope they will be encouraged to stop permanently (1). The 36th annual event will be held on November 17, 2011.

Approximately two out of three smokers want to quit, and 52.4% of current adult smokers tried to quit within the past year (2). Health-care providers should routinely identify smokers and other tobacco users, advise them to quit, and assist those trying to quit (3). Getting help (e.g., through counseling or medication) can double or triple the chances for quitting (3).

Since 2002, the number of former smokers in the United States has exceeded the number of current smokers (3). But 19.3% of U.S. adults (about 45.3 million) still smoke. Additional information and free support for quitting is available online ( or by telephone (800-QUIT-NOW [800-784-8669]; TTY: 800-332-8615).

Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services launched the Million Hearts initiative, aimed at preventing 1 million heart attacks and strokes over the next 5 years. An estimated 26% of heart attacks and 12%--19% of strokes are attributable to smoking. Additional information is available at


  1. American Cancer Society. Great American Smokeout. Available at Atlanta, GA: American Cancer Society; 2011. Accessed November 3, 2011.
  2. CDC. Quitting smoking among adults---United States, 2001--2010. MMWR 2011;60:1513--19.
  3. Fiore MC, Jaen CR, Baker TB, et al. Clinical practice guideline. Treating tobacco use and dependence: 2008 update. Rockville, MD: US Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service; 2008. Available at Accessed November 3, 2011.

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