When you're thinking about quitting smoking, it seems there's always some event in the future that you need to "get through" before you kick the habit. I know. I've been there. You want to quit, but you think it might be best to wait until after the holidays. Or that visit with the extended family. Or until the project at work is finished. 

But once that day comes, you find there's another project, visit or holiday hanging over your head.

Well, guess what? Today is the day to quit smoking. Not tomorrow. Not next week or next month. Today. How do I know that?

Because today is the Great American Smokeout, and it's the day that the whole nation supports your decision to quit.

What's the Great American Smokeout? Every year, on the third Thursday of November, the American Cancer Society hosts the Great American Smokeout to help smokers quit or make a plan to quit smoking. The challenge is issued to smokers around the country. Today is the day. It's time to quit.

The idea for the Great American Smokeout came from Arthur P. Mullaney, a resident of Randolph, Massachusetts, who in the 1970s asked citizens of that town to quit smoking for a day and donate their cigarette money to a high school scholarship fund. Even in the age when you could smoke in every restaurant, office building, and airplane, this idea caught on.

By 1976, the California branch of the American Cancer Society (ACS), launched the first official Great American Smokeout, inspiring 1 million smokers to quit. Since then, the event has grown bigger and better every year, increasing awareness about the need to quit and influencing legislation to help protect the public's health.

Ready to take the plunge? According to the ACS, smokers have the best luck at kicking the habit when they have support, such as:

  • Telephone smoking-cessation hotlines. Every state has a "quitline." Find yours, here.
  • Support groups (both in person and online)
  • Counseling
  • Nicotine replacement products
  • Prescription medicine to lessen cravings
  • Guide books
  • Support from friends and family members
And don't just try one idea at a time. The ACS notes that two or more methods used together work better than just one. 

Today is the day to quit smoking. Make a plan and put it into action.

More resources to help you quit smoking: