The Great American Smoke Out

By Kate Gaier
4:45 pm November 16, 2006

Joe Craigmiles has been smoking cigarettes since he was 13 years old. He says he's tried to quit, but has been unsuccessful.

"I smoked three packs a day and I'm down to a quarter now. I'm going to beat it. I'm going to quit," said Craigmiles.

A month ago Craigmiles had surgery to remove cancer he says was caused by smoking.

Dr. Steve Johnson comments on the dangers of smoking, "Somewhere around 450,000 people a year die from smoking related illnesses, at least 150,000 from lung cancer alone, which 90 percent of is smoking related."

Every year on the third Thursday in November The American Cancer Society hosts "The Great American Smoke Out." This year marks the 30th year the organization asks smokers to put out those cigarettes for 24 hours.

Derek Debose, a non-smoker, said, "I think it's a good thing because it teaches people the value of not smoking. It makes people feel better, but people are going to do what they want to do anyways."

Julius Darity, another non-smoker, added, "If someone warned me about something that could kill me, I would leave it alone."

Craigmiles added, "If you can go 24 hours, you can go another 24."

Craigmiles says he's doing everything he can to quit smoking, and maybe this year's Great American Smoke Out is exactly what he needs to kick the habit.

Doctors say if you're trying to quit smoking, plan ahead, pick a day to stop, and have a plan in place to deal with cravings.