Thursday marks the annual “Great American Smokeout,” a national initiative sponsored by the American Cancer Society to encourage smokers to try quitting – one day at a time.

The ACS holds the Great American Smokeout on the third Thursday of November every year. It’s a one-day event: the idea is to encourage smokers to quit for 24 hours, with an eye on beginning the process of quitting for good. (The benefits of quitting are almost instantaneous: within 20 minutes, your heart rate and blood pressure begin to drop, and within 12 hours the carbon monoxide level in your blood returns to normal. Quitting for a year cuts your excess risk of coronary heart disease in half.)

Learn more about the health benefits of quitting.

In Chapel Hill, UNC Family Medicine’s Nicotine Dependence Program is getting into the spirit: they’ll be operating a booth all day at UNC Hospitals, with information and help (plus raffle prizes!) for individuals looking to give up smoking.

Barbara Silver of UNC Family Medicine spoke with Aaron Keck on WCHL.


If you’re thinking of quitting, there’s also a hotline you can call: 1-800-QUIT-NOW. If you’re an Orange County resident, you can get 8 weeks of free Nicotine Replacement Therapy if you call and register to quit.

For more information on how to quit smoking, visit this page.