Great American Smokeout

By: Summer Knowles
By: Summer Knowles

November 17, 2005

November 17 marks the American Cancer Society's 29th Annual "Great American Smoke Out."

The idea behind it is to get someone you know to give up smoking for a day in hopes they'll be able to go without cigarettes for a lifetime.

"I have stopped occasionally,” said smoker James Churchman. "The longest was about nine months."

It's easier said than done. That's what a lot of smokers and health experts say about giving up cigarettes. But the American Cancer Society is encouraging smokers across the country to do just that.

"We try to encourage people to quit smoking for one day, so that they can see that they can do it, that it's possible for them to quit for one day, and then three days, then a week and so on," explained Tiffany Carp with the American Cancer Society.

"I think I can quit for a day. I mean that's no problem," said Churchman.

Right now one in four adults and one in five teenagers are smokers and more than 45 million Americans are addicted to tobacco.

In 2005, smoking is expected to cause about 30 percent of an estimated 570,000 cancer deaths.

"It's extremely important for us to get those numbers down so that people are not dying from a preventable disease," said Carp.

Healthy lungs are usually a pinkish, redish color and easy to inflate. After years of smoking, they usually turn black, are harder to inflate, and even cancerous.

Experts at UVa have developed a new strategy to help doctors be more effective counselors concerning smoking sensations.

"Quitting smoking is so much more complex than just having an effective counselor," said Dr. Steven Heim with UVa Family Medicine. "People who are smokers need to realize that they're never going to quit unless they make some attempts."

Attempts are proven to make future efforts more successful.

American Cancer Society tips for quitting smoking include:

- Avoid temptation by removing all cigarette-related material from your home and office (cigarettes, ashtrays, matches, etc...)

- Practice the four Ds: Deep breaths, Do something to get your mind off the craving, Drink a lot of water, Delay reaching for a cigarette

- Avoid situations that encourage smoking

- Change your routines (if you normally light up after drinking coffee, then drink juice instead)

- Try different methods until you find one that works

- Call the American Cancer Society Quitline for support, counseling and local resources that can help you quit

- Use different tools available (ie: Nicotine patch, gum, nasal spray, etc.)

For additional information call 1-800-ACS-2345 or visit

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