Join the Great American Smokeout to Quit Smoking and Support Tobacco-Free Outdoor Air Policies

Each year, on the third Thursday of November, the American Cancer Society encourages individuals to join the Great American Smokeout (GASO). GASO is a day for individuals to make a pledge and a plan to quit smoking and for family members and friends to support their loved ones in their quitting journey. If you or a loved one smokes, the Onondaga County Health Department’s Tobacco-Free CNY encourages you to take the pledge and join the GASO on November 21, 2019.

Smoking continues to be the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the United States. Smoking can lead to cancer, heart disease, stroke and serious lung diseases. About 1 in every 5 deaths in the U.S. is caused by smoking. Smoking also affects non-smoking adults and children. Secondhand smoke exposure can cause non-smoking adults to develop cancer and heart disease and children to have poor lung growth and develop serious lung illnesses. Over 41,000 non-smoking adults and infants die each year from secondhand smoke exposure1.

Quitting smoking doesn’t happen in one day, but it starts with one day. If you plan to quit, remember:

  • Create your quit plan and write down your goals
  • Establish a strong support system with friends and family who will help you quit
  • Take one day at a time and celebrate small successes
  • Quitting success is higher with a combination of FDA approved medication and counseling

Tobacco-Free CNY works to reduce the power and presence of the tobacco industry in Central New York communities through policy change and youth empowerment. This year, Tobacco-Free CNY is celebrating GASO by bringing awareness to tobacco-free outdoor air policies. For the first time in recorded history, the Onondaga County adult smoking rate has dropped to 17.2%. This is largely due to the passage of tobacco-related New York State laws, specifically the Tobacco 21 policy.

Over 500 cities and town in New York State have created their own tobacco-free outdoor air policies. Local government, hospitals, businesses, colleges and landlords have followed this lead by creating their own tobacco-free outdoor air policies. In addition to helping individuals quit using tobacco, tobacco-free outdoor air policies eliminate exposure to secondhand smoke, reduce tobacco litter, decrease the risk of building fires caused by lit tobacco products, and exclude the presence of tobacco in everyday life. The goal is for Central New York residents to live healthy, safe and tobacco-free lives.

For support with quitting, and to see if you qualify for free medications, call the New York State Quitline at

1-866-697-8487 or visit If you are interested in a tobacco-free outdoor air policy where you work, where your children play or where you live, please contact Tobacco-Free CNY at 315-435-3280.