Quit Together. Win Together. The Great American Smoke Out November 20th

During my childhood my mom was a smoker. In the 80s and being a smoker was almost a norm. I can still remember her favorite cigarettes, Virginia Slims Menthol because she would send me to the corner store to buy a pack for $1.15 (there were no laws against selling smokes to minors at the time) This particular brand was marketed toward women, commercials featured the long thin cigarette with women looking very posh. The hazards of second hand smoke were just beginning to be talked about but smoking was still permitted almost everywhere including restaurants. As a matter of fact, I can remember flying to California and the back of the plane was a cloud of smoke as folks puffed away.

Despite the prevalence of smoking in media and the community at large, I was never on board with my mother smoking. As a young child I would steal her cigarettes and hid them because I knew the dangers of smoking. There was also danger in this act because she would threaten my life if I didn’t give her the cigarettes. When we drove to my various activities I would keep the window down to try to keep the smoke away from me and did this even in the winter. I would disregard her pleas for me to put the window up because I told her I didn’t want to die from second hand smoke. Despite being an avid smoker, my mom did have the desire to  this quit.  She tried all types of ways to kick the habit including hypnotherapy but nothing stuck.

She smoked through most of my college years, I can remember coming home for the Christmas holiday and washing all of my laundry. When I returned to school I’d have to air it all out because of the smoke smell that still clung to them. By that point I recognized the difficulty with smoking cessation and didn’t harass her about it anymore. I simply believed she would stop when she was ready. In both a fortunate and unfortunate turn of events, she became ill during my senior year with an unidentified illness and decided that because of her health concerns it was time to quit. My mom took the bull by the horns, quit cold turkey and gave up the habit that she had for most of her lifetime. I know this wasn’t an easy task but she did it and the American Cancer Society wants to encourage others to stop smoking too.

Did you know that tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the US, yet about 42 million Americans still smoke cigarettes — a bit under 1 in every 5 adults. As of 2012, there were also 13.4 million cigar smokers in the US, and 2.3 million who smoke tobacco in pipes — other dangerous and addictive forms of tobacco.” – cancer.org

November 20 marks the American Cancer Society’s 38th year of the Great American Smokeout (GASO), an initiative to encourage smokers to commit to quit or make a plan to
quit on that day. By quitting, even for one day, smokers will take a critical step to a healthier
life that can reduce the risk of cancer. The official theme of the campaign is “Quit Together. Win Together.”

If you are a smoker, I’d like to encourage you to join the Great American Smokeout. Make a plan of action to quit or simply quit altogether on November 20th. You can find numerous resources on the website, call 1-800-227-2345 and visit the Quit for Life facebook page. Or you can just click this link for a guide to quit smoking. The GASO theme this year is “Quit Together, Win Together”. The biggest thing you can win in my opinion is your health, I encourage you to start your journey to better health on November 20!

Disclosure: This post represents a sponsored editorial partnership with the American Cancer Society. All storytelling and opinions are, of course, my own.


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