Like many good ideas, The Great American Smokeout started small in a small town in Massachusetts in 1971.
A high school guidance counselor asked students, teachers, and staff to give up cigarettes for one day and
donate the money they would have spent on smokes to a college scholarship fund. In 1976, the California
Division of the American Cancer Society adopted the idea and re-named it the Great American Smokeout.
This past week, America marked its 33rd Great American Smokeout Day and while millions have quit,
smoking itself is still going strong. This is partially attributable to the nefarious ways that
the tobacco companies have successfully marketed their products, but mostly attributable to the
powerful addiction to nicotine.
I smoked during my college days, and for a couple of years after college, then finally kicked the habit.
I learned then that quitting smoking was not an easy thing to do.
I had a half dozen false starts. But finally I stuck with it and I snuffed out my last cigarette three decades ago.
I donít for a moment doubt the powerful addiction of nicotine having once been held in its grip.
But to all my brothers and sisters who have never reached the point where they could kick
the habit for good, Iíd like to make my pitch to flush those damn little death sticks down the drain.
Smoking is like the friend that always lies to you. You enjoy its company.
It appears to bring you comfort when needed, and distraction from your daily
worries when wanted, but like the friend that comes and steals from you in the night,
it is the last thing you want to invite into your life.
I have known so many people whose lives have been cut short because of cigarettes.
Robbed of the chance to cry tears of joy at their daughterís wedding, attend their
sonís college graduation, kiss their spouse on the morning of their 35th wedding
anniversary, or rock their grandchild to sleep in their arms.
What a rotten outcome for choosing a rotten companion. Particularly one that gave
you such satisfaction when that first deep drag, followed by the nearly instant hit
of nicotine as smoke filled your lungs and nicotine rushed through your bloodstream,
gave you that needed kick your body was craving.
< You canít help but get a bit of a laugh over a photo like this. A 1943 Saturday Evening
Post cover of a nurse lighting the cigarette of a recovering vet. Cigarettes were once
a part of the landscape. Itís still with us today in a big way, but steadily itís being
pushed back into the shadows of our society.
Hereís my hope that we keep pushing it further and further into the shadows,.
Down into the ash bin of history. An ignoble death disguised as the passion of
the heroic loner. Cigarettes, then, now, and forever: A deadly deceit, a lothsome
killer in the form of a passing pleasure.
The Great American Smokeout is an invitation for smokers to take the first step toward quitting forever.
Martin Brown - http://singlemindedwomen.com/blog/up-in-smoke-the-great-american-smoke-out/
For more information and help with tobacco cessation, call 1-800-784-8669 or visit the http://www.smokefree.gov/ website.