National No Smoking Day, held every second Wednesday of March, will be March 13, 2024. The day is designed as a time to reach out to friends or family members who suffer from nicotine addiction. Research shows the number of people around the world who still smoke cigarettes — and are not actively trying to quit — is severely dwindling. The stigma surrounding smoking and the dangers of first-hand and second-hand smoke tend to get more severe as time goes on. But on National No Smoking Day, many are encouraged to help others quit.
History of National No Smoking Day
National No Smoking Day originated in the Republic of Ireland in 1984 on Ash Wednesday, when the ruling clergy determined that cigarettes would be a good thing for people to give up for Lent. Between then and now, the day of the holiday has been shifted to a more predictable second Wednesday of March.
Medical reports linking smoking to cancer first appeared in the 1920s. During the 1950s and 1960s, extensive research confirmed tobacco could cause a range of serious diseases. Smoking then became less popular due to a rapid increase in knowledge of the health effects of both active and passive smoking.
Now, the National No Smoking campaign is organized by the British Heart Foundation, whose members come up with a marketing phrase every year. For example, in 2010, the motto was, “Break free!” Television ads that year showed smokers breaking cigarettes instead of smoking them.
Historically, many heavy smokers populated the Republic of Ireland, but in recent years the numbers steadily declined. According to the annual Healthy Ireland Survey, 80,000 people stopped smoking over the preceding three years.
The World Health Organization states tobacco kills up to half of its users, with more than 8 million people dying each year. More than 7 million of those deaths are the result of direct tobacco use, while around 1.2 million deaths are the result of exposure to second-hand smoke. Despite the statistics, government warnings, labels, age and location restrictions helped create a positive effect on the decline of smoking.
National No Smoking Day timeline
The British Heart Foundation’s campaign still surges forward, with the 2020 motto, “Tobacco breaks your heart.”
The World Health Organization adopts the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which promotes awareness against smoking via labels.
The first National No Smoking Day is recognized in Ireland.
Health warnings first appear on U.S. tobacco and cigarette packaging.
National No Smoking Day FAQs
What happens to your body when you quit smoking?
While it is healthier to have no nicotine in the body, the initial depletion can cause nicotine withdrawal. However, the body can readjust in as little as one month.
How long does nicotine withdrawal last?
Withdrawal symptoms usually reach their peak two to three days after a person quits. It takes at least three months for the brain chemistry to return to normal after leaving.
Can the lungs heal after quitting smoking?
Lungs are a remarkable organ system that, in some instances, can repair themselves over time. After quitting smoking, lungs do slowly heal and regenerate.
How to Observe National No Smoking Day
In the U.S. and U.K., there are a plethora of resources available for any smoker who decides they’ve had enough, but needs help quitting. Giving up cigarettes for good is no easy task, but with assistance from helplines such as CDC (800-QUIT-NOW or 800-784-8669), it is possible.
Support a loved one who wants to quit
Each person knows each friend or family members best, so a tailored approach to each individual is recommended. Ways to help loved ones include leaving literature around the house, discarding cigarettes, loving encouragement, or even nagging. The main thing is to be there for the person as they undergo this challenging endeavor.
Shop at stores that don’t sell tobacco products
The mere absence of tobacco can be a positive influence in avoiding or ending addiction. Opt to shop at places that do not sell cigarettes, so it is not a temptation to purchase, especially with friends or family that may be addicted.
5 Interesting Quotes About Tobacco
Watch out, youngsters
The CEO of L&M said, “If you really and truly are not going to market to children, you can expect to be out of business in 30 years.”
You’re the boss, applesauce
Philip Morris exec said, “None of the things which have been found in tobacco smoke is at concentrations which can be considered harmful. Anything can be considered harmful. Applesauce is harmful if you get too much of it.”
Better uses for them
RJ Reynolds on targeting youth. “They got lips? We want ‘em.”
RJ Reynolds also discussed whether execs smoke what they sell. “We don’t smoke that s***. We just sell it. We reserve the right to smoke for the young, the poor, the black and the stupid.”
There are no words
RJ Reynolds, yet again, this time said on smoking and disease, “We strongly oppose warning labels on cigarette packs. Warning labels may improperly imply that cigarettes cause disease.”
Why We Love National No Smoking Day
It clears the air
According to the Centers for Disease Control, secondhand smoke alone causes close to 41,000 deaths a year among American adults. The more smokers that quit on National No Smoking Day, the less secondhand smoke spreads into non-smokers lungs.
Good health is a good thing
Not many would argue that longevity, relaxed breathing, and healthy living are bad things. Quitting smoking improves your heart and lung health, your complexion, your sense of smell, and a smattering of other positive effects.
It’s a hit to Big Tobacco
This company sells a lethal product. Big Tobacco still holds a lot of sway in political circles, but they won’t survive when the number of smokers declines below a certain level.
National No Smoking Day dates