The Great American Smokeout: Nationwide effort to stop people from smoking

Smoking rate has dropped from 42% in 1965 to 17% today

(AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – Across the country Thursday, there was a big emphasis on quitting smoking. The third Thursday in November is an event known as the “Great American Smokeout.”

At UMass Amherst, students set up tables in the Campus Center to educate students about quitting. At 5:30 P.M., they are having an event on the lawn near the Student Union, featuring hot chocolate, s’mores, and trivia. Money raised goes toward the American Cancer Society, and their mission to prevent cancer.

UMass is a tobacco-free campus, but that does not mean that everyone follows the rules. Students told 22News that they are just looking to raise awareness about the danger.

“The more we can put it out there about how it is dangerous and how people shouldn’t be smoking for their own health reasons and for other people around them. Second hand smoke is a real thing,” said Julia Griffin, Vice President of Colleges Against Cancer.

According to the American Cancer Society, about 40 million Americans still smoke. It is the leading cause of preventable disease and death. There is some good news, however. Smoking rates have dropped from 42% of Americans in 1965 down to 17% in 2014.