top of page


The Great American Smokeout: Welcome
The Great American Smokeout: Services

Photo Credit: Mathew Macquarrie

The Great American Smokeout: Famous Quote




The American Cancer Society Great American Smokeout® takes place annually on the third Thursday in November each year.  The Smokeout® is a day to encourage smokers to take a break from the habit for one day.  Some people who are planning to quit smoking choose this day to be their quit date.

Evolving from a series of small-scale initiatives, the first Great American Smokeout®  was held on November 16, 1977, in San Francisco’s Union Square.


  • 1970 – Randolph, Massachusetts – Arthur P. Mullaney suggested people give up cigarettes for a day donating the money to a local high school.

  • 1974 – Monticello, Minnesota – Lynn R. Smith of the Monticello Times promoted a “Don’t Smoke Day”.

  • 1976 – November 18, The California Division of the American Cancer Society successfully prompted nearly one million smokers to quit for the day.


We hope that the experience of stopping smoking for just one day becomes the impetus needed to stop for good.

The Great American Smokeout: Text
The Great American Smokeout: About Therapy


It’s never too late to quit using tobacco. The sooner you quit, the more you can reduce your chances of getting cancer and other diseases.

Within minutes of smoking your last cigarette, your body begins to recover:


  • 20 minutes after quitting -Your heart rate and blood pressure drop.

  • (Mahmud A, Feely J. Effect of smoking on arterial stiffness and pulse pressure amplification. Hypertension. 2003;41(1):183-187.)

  • 12 hours after quitting-The carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal.

  • (US Surgeon General’s Report, 1988, p. 202)

  • 2 weeks to 3 months after quitting-Your circulation improves and your lung function increases.(US Surgeon General’s Report, 1990, pp. 193, 194, 196, 285, 323)

  • 1 to 9 months after quitting-Coughing and shortness of breath decrease. Tiny hair-like structures that move mucus out of the lungs (called cilia) start to regain normal function in your lungs, increasing their ability to handle mucus, clean the lungs, and reduce the risk of infection.(US Surgeon General’s Report, 1990, pp. 285-287, 304)

  • 1 year after quitting-The excess risk of coronary heart disease is half that of someone who still smokes. Your heart attack risk drops dramatically.

  • (US Surgeon General’s Report, 2010, p. 359)

  • 5 years after quitting-Your risk of cancers of the mouth, throat, esophagus, and bladder is cut in half. Cervical cancer risk falls to that of a non-smoker. Your stroke risk can fall to that of a non-smoker after 2 to 5 years.(US Surgeon General’s Report, 2010 and World Health Organization. Tobacco Control: Reversal of Risk After Quitting Smoking. IARC Handbooks of Cancer Prevention, Vol. 11. 2007, p. 341.)

  • 10 years after quitting-Your risk of dying from lung cancer is about half that of a person who is still smoking. Your risk of cancer of the larynx (voice box) and pancreas decreases.-(US Surgeon General's Report, 2010 and US Surgeon General’s Report, 1990, pp. vi, 155, 165)

  • 15 years after quitting-Your risk of coronary heart disease is that of a non-smoker’s.(World Health Organization. Tobacco Control: Reversal of Risk After Quitting Smoking. IARC Handbooks of Cancer Prevention, Vol. 11. 2007, p. 11.)


These are just a few of the benefits of quitting smoking for good. Quitting smoking lowers your risk of diabetes, lets blood vessels work better, and helps your heart and lungs.


Life expectancy for smokers is at least 10 years shorter than that of non-smokers.


Quitting smoking before the age of 40 reduces the risk of dying from smoking-related disease by about 90%.


Quitting while you're younger will reduce your health risks more, but quitting at any age can give back years of life that would be lost by continuing to smoke.


Are there benefits of quitting that I’ll notice right away?


Kicking the tobacco habit offers some rewards that you’ll notice right away and some that will show up over time.

Right away you’ll save the money you spent on tobacco! And here are just a few other benefits you may notice:

  • Food tastes better.

  • Your sense of smell returns to normal.

  • Your breath, hair, and clothes smell better.

  • Your teeth and fingernails stop yellowing.

  • Ordinary activities leave you less out of breath (for example, climbing stairs or light housework).

  • You can be in smoke-free buildings without having to go outside to smoke.


Quitting also helps stop the damaging effects of tobacco on how you look, including premature wrinkling of your skin, gum disease, and tooth loss.

The Great American Smokeout: Text


for more information about the

Great American Smokeout®

The Great American Smokeout: Text
bottom of page