When Arthur P. Mullaney of Randolph, Massachusetts asked his community to stop smoking for a day in 1971 and donate the cigarette money to college scholarships, the idea for the Great American Smoke-Out was born.
By 1977, the Smoke-Out became a national event; on the third Thursday of every November communities pull together to help smokers quit and spotlight the dangers of tobacco use.
"What we have been doing can be characterized as the denormalization of smoking as an acceptable behavior," said Dileep G. Bal, national president of the American Cancer Society.
According to the Mayo Clinic, cigarette smoke delivers over 40 known cancer-causing chemicals, amounts of poisons-- arsenic, cyanide and 4,000 other substances, 43 of them confirmed carcinogens-- to the body.
"I know I can quit smoking," said humorist Mark Twain, "because I've done it a thousand times."
Most smokers begin in their invincible and immortal teens. Most are hooked on the nicotine buzz. And most yearn to stop, but can't because of tobacco's powerful hold. But with over 400,000 American deaths yearly from smoking-related diseases, the time to stop is NOW.
There is no "best way" to stop, except to do what works for you. Seek help if you need it. Maybe talk to ex-smokers you know to find out how they stopped. Commit to a definite stop day. Investigate nicotine replacement therapy. Drink lots of water. Start a new exercise regimen.
Every year, three million Americans quit. You can, too.
"Let us remember that the longer we live," advised philosopher Marianne Williamson, "the more we know and the more we know, the more beautiful we are."
Commit to Quit Smoking Today.