The Great American Smokeout 2016 Post Date: Nov 17 2016 Tobacco users across the country will take on a challenge on November 17 for the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout. This annual event is an opportunity for those who use tobacco to make a plan to quit smoking that day. The Great American Smokeout is a national day of activism that lets quitters win by taking a first step toward a healthier lifestyle. North Dakota’s local public health units and BreatheND are using the occasion to spread awareness that the best way to quit is never to start. Young people and non-smokers across the state can celebrate this occasion by taking a pledge to never start using tobacco products and to support friends and family who are quitting. Tobacco is still a threat to youth everywhere as tobacco companies continue to recruit young people as replacement smokers. The majority of smokers, nearly 90%, start smoking by their 18th birthday. Three hundred North Dakota kids become daily, addicted smokers each year. Making the commitment on November 17 to stay tobacco-free saves lives by preventing our youth from tobacco’s deadly consequences. The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids says an estimated 14,000 kids alive in North Dakota will die prematurely from a smoking-related illness. The best way to beat one of the most difficult addictions is to avoid it and pledge never to use tobacco or nicotine products. The Great American Smokeout is our opportunity every year to say, “let’s end this.” Let’s end the terrible toll that tobacco takes in addiction, disease and death. Comprehensive cessation and prevention programs can help smokers quit and help ensure that the next generation stays tobacco-free for life.