Great American Smokeout set Nov. 16

Make a plan to quit smoking – call the Quitline today!
November 14, 2017

You'd like to quit smoking. Maybe you've tried before. But it can feel hard. The American Cancer Society estimates it takes from eight to ten attempts for the average person to quit smoking. When trying to quit, support can make all the difference. That's why the Cancer Society has set Thursday, Nov. 16, as the date for the annual Great American Smokeout. Each year, thousands of people across the county use the Great American Smokeout as their date to quit.

If you or someone you care about smokes, the Division of Public Health asks you to use Nov. 16, 2017 as your quit date, and use the days leading up to it to create a plan to do so. A good first step is to call the Delaware Quitline at 1- 866-409-1858 for advice. By quitting, smokers take an important step toward reducing their risk of heart disease, cancer and lung diseases. And, even quitting for one day can put smokers on the path to recovery.

In Delaware, rates of cigarette use continue to decline. Cigarette smoking by adults dropped again to an all-time low of 17.7 percent, according to the 2016 Behavioral Risk Factor Survey. But total tobacco use among Delaware adults in 2016 was 24.2 percent, or approximately one in four Delawareans. Total tobacco use includes cigarettes, cigars, little cigars, smokeless tobacco products, e-cigarettes and all other tobacco products.

Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death. An estimated 85 percent to 90 percent of lung cancer cases are caused by smoking, and lung cancer makes up one-third of all cancer deaths.

About 36.5 million Americans still smoke cigarettes, and tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the world. Nationally, while cigarette use declined from 42 percent in 1965 to 15 percent in 2015, cigar, pipe, and hookah use – other dangerous and addictive ways to smoke tobacco – are on the rise.

"Smoking kills people – there is no safe way to consume tobacco," said Department of Health and Social Services Secretary Dr. Kara Odom Walker. "Delaware has been a leader in the effort to create healthy, smoke-free, indoor workplaces and public places for our citizens, yet there is still more we can do to reduce smoking and save lives."

Secondhand smoke can aggravate the symptoms of chronic diseases such as asthma and COPD. The Division of Public Health continues to remind smokers of the dangers of secondhand smoke, both to children and other adults, particularly pregnant women.

While smoking makes it harder for a woman to get pregnant, those who are pregnant and continue to smoke face:

  • Increased risk of miscarriage
  • Potential problems with the placenta – the baby’s oxygen and food supply
  • Increased risk of birth defects
  • Increased risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
  • Potentially preterm or low-birthweight babies.

Delaware data from a recent Women of Childbearing Age Report shows that an estimated 1,400 women smoked during their last three months of pregnancy. Women who smoked during that time frame were approximately three times more likely to deliver a low-birthweight baby as compared to those who did not smoke.

"If you are pregnant and are smoking, talk to your doctor immediately about ways to safely quit," said DPH Director Dr. Karyl Rattay. "You can have fewer health problems, breathe better and have more energy. Your baby will have fewer problems too, such as wheezing, fewer coughs, colds and ear infections, and a reduced risk of SIDS."

The Delaware Quitline provides free tobacco cessation counseling services for Delaware residents who are 18 and older. When someone calls the toll-free Quitline at 1-866-409-1858, they have the option to receive cessation counseling over the phone and, unique to Delaware, can opt to receive counseling in person by a local healthcare professional trained in cessation. Some participants may qualify for free pharmaceutical cessation aids such as patches, gum, nasal spray and prescription medicine such as Chantix. The Delaware Quitline also has special materials for pregnant smokers trying to quit.

For those who don't feel the Quitline is right for them, offers a free web-based option. This online cessation counseling service makes Quit Coaches available to provide tips on quitting tobacco. For individuals under the age of 18, NOT on Tobacco is a cessation service available at most school wellness centers. For more details on the NOT program, contact 1-800-LUNGUSA.

Research shows that most people try to quit smoking several times before they succeed. It's called a relapse when smokers go back to smoking like they were before they tried to quit. If a relapse happens, think of it as practice for the next time. Studies show that most people who don't succeed in quitting are ready to try again in the near future. Things a person learns from a failed attempt to quit may help them quit for good next time. It takes time and skills to learn to be a nonsmoker.

In 2014, Delaware banned the sale of e-cigarettes to minors, and in 2015, Delaware's Clean Indoor Air Act was expanded to include prohibiting the use of e-cigarettes and other electronic vapor devices in workplaces and indoor public places. Also, smoking is not permitted on state property.

For more information about tobacco cessation, go to