Each year on the third Thursday in November, smokers nationwide
make the commitment to quit for one day.
According to the American Cancer Society Web site,
www.cancer.org, the event started in 1971 when a Massachusetts
resident named Arthur P. Mullaney asked community members to quit
smoking for one day and donate the money they would have spent on
tobacco to a local school. In 1974, the editor of the Monticello
Times, Lynn Smith, promoted the first D-Day, Don’t Smoke Day.
The American Cancer Society’s California division had the first
smokeout on Nov. 19, 1976, and the event spread nationwide the next
Hartshorn Health Services celebrated the 27th Great American
Smokeout with events to educate, inform and reward Thursday.
Historically, the smokeout has been driven by education on the
harmful bodily effects of tobacco. This year, however, Hartshorn
chose to focus more on the environmental impact.
“It’s an issue that’s not really in the forefront,” said Gwen
Sieving, a health educator with Hartshorn Health Services. “I don’t
think people realize the danger and the pollution that cigarettes
A handout at the event reported that most cigarettes are not
biodegradable. The cigarette’s tobacco and paper decompose quickly,
but the plastic filter can take years to biodegrade.
According to a Clean Virginia Waterways study, one butt in two
gallons of water kills water fleas, which are crucial to aquatic
Another goal was to reward smokers who obey the new city
ordinance, said Chris Devault, a senior economics major and former
smoker who helped plan the events on campus. Smokers found lighting
up 20 feet or more from buildings were rewarded with coupons for
free pizza and burritos.
There was a kissing booth for those who didn’t smoke.
Resources were also available for those who wanted to quit,
including brochures and contacts.
“This isn’t a day about shaming smokers, it’s about how to
confront that issue and give them solutions,” Sieving said. “We’re
not here to say ‘Don’t smoke, don’t smoke.’ If you want to quit, we
Want to quit but don’t know how? Try these resources:
Smoking Cessation Counseling (970) 491-3084
Colorado Quitline 1-800-639-QUIT
Colorado Quitnet www.co.quitnet.com