When is the Great American Smokeout?
On Thursday, November 19, 2015, the American Cancer Society will celebrate its 39th national Great American Smokeout in an effort to create more awareness about the dangers of smoking, to encourage smokers to set aside their smoking habit for at least 24 hours, and to offer help and resources to others who are ready to take the steps necessary to break the smoking habit and nicotine addiction and quit smoking for good! Since 1977, the Great American Smokeout has captured the attention of an increasing number of individuals who choose to use this day - the third Thursday of November each year - to commit to a healthier lifestyle by fighting through the challenges of nicotine withdrawal and cigarette smoking addiction and begin the journey of quitting smoking. The American Cancer Society does not claim that quitting smoking is easy, but it does try to make it as easy as possible by offering advice, help, information, and other resources to anybody who is willing to put down the smokes and attempt to break free from the nicotine addiction. The American Cancer Society knows that quitting smoking is a healthy lifestyle change, and taking advantage of the Great American Smokeout to quit smoking is a wonderful opportunity!
History of the Great American Smokeout
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What it Means to Me
*NOTE: I published the text below prior to the Great American Smokeout 2010. Quitting smoking, for me, has been an extremely challenging journey. You can read about more about my progress, and digress, in my blog Will A Vapor Cigarette (Electronic Cigarette with Nicotine) Help Me Stop Smoking
If you are considering quitting smoking, I hope what you read below will inspire you to set a quit date and Never Quit Quitting! Follow me on HubPages to share this journey with me! Blessings!
I am especially excited about the Great American Smokeout because I joined the scores of people who put down the smokes for good on this day, and I let my body begin the healing process after almost 20 years of abusing it with such horrible poisons. I am also excited to have mentors in my life who have already put down the smokes and will be cheering me on as I continue my journey in this life as a non-smoker. These supporters have already experienced first-hand the challenges of quitting smoking and have succeeded in committing to a healthier, smoke-free lifestyle.
I quit smoking several times over the past 20 years that I smoked cigarettes for anywhere from a couple of hours, to a few days, up to 3 - 4 months on a few different occasions. In 2006, I participated in the Great American Smokeout, and I stopped smoking for 3 weeks. That was my last attempt to quit smoking...until the Great American Smokeout of 2010. That year was different. That year, I had a plan. That year, I had been preparing all year. That year, I vowed to put down the cigarettes for good. That year, I vowed to never quit quitting.
No Easy Way To Stop Smoking
Do The Research: There are many serious health risks as a result of cigarette smoking including, but not limited to, emphysema, lung cancer, heart disease, and stroke. If you are seriously thinking about quitting smoking, research the diseases caused by cigarette smoking and be sure to look at pictures of diseased lungs and hearts. I looked at pictures and reminded myself that that was what I was doing to my body. I don't want my vital organs to look like that anymore. Trust me...you won't want your vital organs to look like that either.
One great thing about quitting smoking is that within the first hour of quitting smoking one's body starts to heal itself. As each moment passes without the harmful effects of nicotine will begin to diminish. Some of the affects will be longer lasting than others, but it is important to remember that the black lungs were caused by years of smoking, and it will undoubtedly take years of healing for them to recover. No matter how long it takes, quitting smoking is definitely a win-win situation for the body!
Make up Your Mind: If you enjoy smoking (as I did for almost 20 years), you have to make up your mind that the benefits of quitting smoking will far outweigh the pleasures of smoking. Ok, so I might gain some weight when I quit smoking. Therefore, I planned for this by slowly working exercise and better eating habits into my daily routine as a smoker. Once I got the smoking habit kicked, I have tackle a more stringent diet and exercise routine in order to shed the extra pounds. Ok, what about when I'm nervous, stressed, angry, or sad? What about the social situations when "everybody else" is smoking? I made list of every reason I could think of to smoke, and I made up my mind that the benefits of those reasons are not worth the risks, the wretched smell, or the ridiculous amount of money.
Tell Everybody: I started by telling my closest friends and family that I was quitting smoking. As the idea of me as a non-smoker began to sink in with and be accepted by those in my inner circle, I began to tell other friends and family. As I gained confidence in my decision, I began to seek out and tell other friends and acquaintances - especially those who have already quit smoking or are talking about quitting smoking. Then, I told the rest of the world that on Thursday, November 18, 2010, I would resume my journey as a non-smoker thru this blog!
Set A Date: Because I wanted to give myself plenty of time to prepare as much as possible for the mental, physical, and emotional challenges of quitting smoking, I set a date to quit that was six months down the road from when I made up my mind. I chose to use the Great American Smokeout as my anniversary date because I really liked the thought of being able to celebrate with hundreds of thousands of other individuals who choose that same day to quit. That way, it's kinda like having a worldwide support group. Plus, with all of the other preparation and planning that I was doing, I didn't really want to have to agonize over choosing a date.
Exercise Those "Will(power) Muscles": I started changing my smoking routine as soon as I made up my mind that I was quitting smoking. First, I quit smoking in my home. After I got the hang of that, I started leaving my cigarettes at home when I expected to only be gone for a few minutes (i.e. a trip to the corner convenience store, picking up the kids from school, dropping off mail at the post office). I worked my way up to where I felt comfortable leaving my cigarettes at home even if I am going to be out for several hours running errands. Then, I only smoked in a designated area outside my home, which is close to the trash can where I eventually be tossed my last cigarette on Wednesday, November 17, 2010, before I went to bed!
Go For It: I was really not looking forward to the physical effects of the nicotine withdrawals of quitting smoking. As a matter of fact, sometimes I got pretty scared when I thought about it. I did the best I could do to educate myself, my friends, and my family about the different things that could happen to my body and my moods in the days, weeks, months, and years after I quit smoking. I know that quitting is doable because there are scores of people who have already done it! And now I have done it, too!
After Quitting Smoking
Drink Plenty of Water - the body needs plenty of water to function properly. Drinking plenty of water will help flush the toxins out of the body and help keep weight gain to a minimum.
Get Adequate Rest - the body needs adequate rest to function properly. It is impossible to think clearly and make sound decisions when one is too tired or sleepy. It will be easier to "ride out" urges and cravings when the body and brain has had enough rest.
Exercise - the body needs to be exercised in order to function at its fullest potential. Start by doing a few simple stretches a few times a day. Other exercises could include, but should not be limited to, walking, running, jogging, swimming, cycling, tennis, or skating.
*Please talk to your doctor prior to starting or changing any health and fitness routine. I am not a licensed medical professional, and you should ask your doctor if these tips will work for you prior to trying.
Support Group - it is important to have a support system in place when tackling something as challenging as quitting smoking. Support systems could be an online social networking group, meeting face-to-face with a group, or even a friend or two you can count on to call or text during intense cravings and urges. I have already begun to build a stronger connection with others who have never smoked or have successfully quit smoking.
Positive Thinking - it is important to remember the benefits of quitting smoking during the times of cravings and urges. The cravings and urges will pass momentarily, but the benefits will continue to payoff for a lifetime!
Power of Vision - it is important to envision a life as a non-smoker. Envisioning a body with whiter teeth; better looking nails; fresh smelling hair, hands, and clothes; and able to do anything or go anywhere without being tied to a cigarette is a powerful way to remember what all of this quitting smoking stuff is about!
Dollar Signs - cigarettes are expensive. It really doesn't matter what brand one smokes or even how much one smokes - cigarettes are expensive. I think it would be safe to say that on average a smoker will spend at least five dollars a day on cigarettes or other tobacco related products. So, even though math isn't my strongest suit, I'm pretty sure I can handle this one: $5/day X 365days/year = $1,125/year spent on committing slow, smelly suicide...yikes!
You May Also Enjoy
- Can I Quit Smoking with an Ecig?
I quit smoking with the aid of an electronic cigarette. I love being free!
- Great American Smokeout: The Next 48 Hours Without Smoking Cigarettes
I took advantage of the Great American Smokeout to use as a quit date. This blog documents how I felt 48 hours later.
- Great American Smokeout: 2 Weeks of Plastic Toothpicks!
I used the Great American Smokeout as my target quit date for smoking. This blog documents how I felt two weeks later.
- Help your body recover after quitting smoking
Years of smoking can damage a body, but many of those damages can be repaired once an individual stops smoking. This hub will give you some ideas about how you can help your body heal after you quit smoking!
- How To Avoid Gaining Weight When Quitting Smoking
Many people are concerned about gaining weight when they stop smoking, and they use that as a reason not to quit. This hub has some suggestions about how to keep your weight steady after you stop smoking.
- The Truth About Gaining Weight When You Quit Smoking
If you smoke a pack a day or more, you will probably gain weight when you quit. But don't let that stop you. You can minimize or even avoid weight gain when you quit smoking.
- American Cancer Society | Information and Resources for Cancer: Breast, Colon, Lung, Prostate, Skin
The American Cancer Society hosts the Great American Smokeout on the third November of every year. In 2010, the ACS will celebrate its 35th annual Great American Smokeout! The stop smoking resources on this page are bountiful!