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The Great American Smokeout
is a social engineering experiment on the third Thursday of November in the United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...
encouraging Americans (of whom 45.8 million smoke) to stop tobacco smoking
Tobacco smoking is the practice where tobacco is burned and the resulting smoke is inhaled. The practice may have begun as early as 5000–3000 BCE. Tobacco was introduced to Eurasia in the late 16th century where it followed common trade routes...
. The American Cancer Society
The American Cancer Society is the "nationwide community-based voluntary health organization" dedicated, in their own words, "to eliminating cancer as a major health problem by preventing cancer, saving lives, and diminishing suffering from cancer, through research, education, advocacy, and...
held its first Smokeout in San Francisco's Union Square Nov.16th 1977. It was deemed "fantastically Successful" and merited national press coverage by all three networks and the Todauy Show. The event challenges people to stop smoking cigarettes for 24 hours, hoping their decision not to smoke will last forever.
The event evolved from a series of events:
- In 1970, in Randolph, Massachusetts
The Town of Randolph is a city in Norfolk County, Massachusetts, United States. As of the 2010 census, the town population was 32,112. Randolph adopted a new charter effective January 2010 providing for a council-manager form of government instead of the traditional town meeting...
, Arthur P. Mullaney suggested people give up cigarette
A cigarette is a small roll of finely cut tobacco leaves wrapped in a cylinder of thin paper for smoking. The cigarette is ignited at one end and allowed to smoulder; its smoke is inhaled from the other end, which is held in or to the mouth and in some cases a cigarette holder may be used as well...
s for a day and donate the money to a local high school.
- In 1974, a "Don't Smoke Day" (or "D-Day") was promoted by Lynn R. Smith of the Monticello Times in Monticello, Minnesota
Monticello is a city in Wright County, Minnesota, United States. Monticello was founded in 1856 and celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2006. The population was 12,759 at the 2010 census. The name Monticello is derived from the Italian word for "Little Mountain," it translates literally to...
- On November 18, 1976, the California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...
Division of the American Cancer Society successfully prompted nearly one million smokers to quit for the day. That California event marked the first Smokeout.