The Great American SmokeOut began 50 years ago in hopes of raising awareness of tobacco’s negative health consequences and the numerous ways a person might choose to break up that complicated relationship. Each year since then, the third Thursday in November has been designated as the day when smokers are challenged to declare a “mini-quit” and try to abstain from smoking for just one day.
Competence & Confidence
Mini-quits really do help us learn to quit. We develop competence (new skills) as we figure out how to sit with our coffee and NOT light a cigarette. For short periods of time we may be able to figure out how to sit with our uncomfortable feelings without smoking, too! These are important skills. Seeing our success for several hours or a whole day also builds our confidence that we really can quit – especially with practice, new skills, and support.
If you’re a smoker, love a smoker, work with a smoker, or live with a smoker, let’s celebrate the Great American SmokeOut by getting the support of others and being support for others who are trying to break away from tobacco’s hellish grip.
Compared to illicit drugs or excessive alcohol use, tobacco tends to be more…
- Accessible – It’s legal and available in LOTS of forms in LOTS of stores.
- Acceptable – Tobacco’s stigma (while considerable) isn’t as great as the stigma of staggering down Main Street or being found in a gutter with a needle in one’s arm.
- Affordable – As expensive as tobacco is, if we consider the cost of “a day’s worth,” tobacco is often cheaper.
- Addictable – Because nicotine can be delivered very quickly to the brain, each puff may make a tiny ‘impression’ on the smoker’s brain. A smoker may puff hundreds of times in a single day and make hundreds of tiny impressions! Furthermore, those impressions get associated with the coffee cup, steering wheel, telephone, familiar face, or familiar place in ways that make those triggers really ‘stick’ in a smoker’s brain. Subsequently those behaviors, faces, and places become cues, telling the smoker to want a cigarette.
- Absolutely more LETHAL! -Tobacco kills more Americans each year than homicide, suicide, drugs (legal and illegal), alcohol, motor vehicle accidents, and HIV/AIDS combined!
This is tough stuff and getting support and being support can make ALL the difference! People trying to quit – even for just the day – are brave folks. Compassionate support is a real game-changer. So let’s get support and be support! We deserve to be free friends, and together we can be!
Check out this link to see how to compassionately support a quitter!