The American Cancer Society Great American Smokeout, which will take place Thursday, November 20th, is a day that encourages smokers to quit for a day in the hope that they may quit for good. Although this event officially began in 1977, the event’s roots reach back to 1971 when the citizens of Randolph, MA, were challenged to give up cigarettes for the day and donate the saved money to a high school scholarship fund. A few years after, in Minnesota, an editor of a local newspaper spearheaded the state’s first D-Day or Don’t Smoke Day. This trend was picked up by California, when this became the Great American Smokeout.
Daniel E. Regenye, Ocean County Health Department (OCHD) Public Health Coordinator, said that this one day of the year truly encourages smokers to quit on this day or use the day to make a quit plan. He said, “So many people at the end of this day said, if I could do this today, I can do it tomorrow. Hopefully people will continue the quest for quitting, one day at a time.”
He added, “ Though the prevalence of adult and youth smoking in New Jersey continues to decline we still need to remain vigilant in our efforts to help our residents end their use of cigarette and tobacco products. “When you make the decision to quit you are taking a step in the right direction to improve health for yourself, your loved ones and your community.”
Leslie Terjesen, OCHD Public Information Officer, said, “Although quitting may be difficult, it is not impossible. There are more former smokers in New Jersey than there are current smokers. Many who have tried to quit in the past relapsed but are encouraged to try again. Many former smokers make several attempts before quitting permanently.
Regenye added, “The Ocean County Health Department certainly supports the Great American Smokeout and encourages those who smoke to consider using this day to try to quit. Although quitting is not easy, it is a fight you can win. Remember that the average person tries 7 to 10 times before quitting for good. You can put money back in your wallet and you can find steps you can take to stop smoking for good. You can visit www.cancer.org and find self-help materials, support programs, telephone counseling and information regarding nicotine replacement therapy.