Great American Smokeout – November 21, 2019

Thu Nov 21

The decision to quit smoking can feel overwhelming. Often, the hardest part is simply making the actual decision to quit. To help people take this important first step, the American Cancer Society sponsors the Great American Smokeout on the third Thursday in November, challenging smokers to start by giving up cigarettes for 24 hours. If you or a loved one smokes cigarettes, consider joining the movement on November 21, and take the first step toward quitting cigarettes forever!

Great American Smokeout - History

​June 22, 2009

​The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act.

This new law placed specific restrictions on marketing tobacco products to children.


A limit on smoking in the workplace

San Francisco was the first city to pass restrictions banning smoking in private workplaces.

​November 16, 1977

​The Great American Smokeout was born

San Francisco held the first Great American Smokeout. From here, many other cities followed suit and the day became more widely celebrated.


Attitudes toward smoking changed​

​Throughout the '70s, people began to think about smoking differently as the negative effects became more widely known. People also started movements encouraging others to quit.

How to Observe Great American Smokeout

  1. Make a plan

    Learn about options to curb cravings and get your support system ready to help you through hard times. If you're trying to help someone else quit, check out some ways to ensure you're doing it the right way.

  2. Get rid of anything smoking-related

    It's the perfect day to remove all smoking-related items from your home. Remove all cigarettes, ashtrays, and lighters from your car and workplace as well. Also consider stocking up on substitutes like gum and crunchy snacks.

  3. Reflect on your smoking past

    If you've tried to quit before, the Great American Smokeout is a good time to reflect on your past attempts. Think about why those attempts didn't work, and be proactive to ensure these reasons don't get in your way this time around.

4 Famous Ex-Smokers You Never Knew Smoked At All

  1. Gwyneth Paltrow

    The Academy Award-winning actress smoked frequently as a teen and didn't decide to quit until she was pregnant with her first child.

  2. ​Barack Obama

    The former president quit with the help of Nicorette ​gum, hoping to set a good example for his daughters.

  3. ​Jennifer Aniston

    The "Friends" star quit smoking successfully by turning to yoga and other exercise to keep her mind off of cigarettes.

  4. ​Mila Kunis

    The actress admitted she used cigarettes as a way to slim down for her role in "Black Swan," but has since given up the habit.​

Why Great American Smokeout is Important

  1. A single day can help people take the first step

    The Great American Smokeout highlights the dangers of smoking tobacco and provides a meaningful way for people to avoid cigarettes. It also offers a comfortable environment for family members and friends to speak about tobacco and how to quit smoking.

  2. It brings people together

    Not only does the Great American Smokeout speak to the negative effects of smoking, but it also helps people come together in the name of quitting. People trying to quit can communicate with one another online using the hashtag #GreatAmericanSmokeout, or by attending local events in various cities.

  3. The Great American Smokeout provides resources to quit

    The American Cancer Society's Great American Smokeout website provides resources, news, and stories about the journey to quit smoking. Smokers can find inspiration and tips to increase their chances of quitting successfully.