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The Great American Smokeout: Manifesting a Smoke-Free Future November 2020

The Great American Smokeout was first commemorated over 40 years ago. This day
marks a time where people can not only commit to quitting for one day, but also serves as a
space for individuals to create a plan for a smoke-free future.
The Great American Smokeout is an opportunity for us to encourage each other to learn
about smoking cessation and quitting resources. This day also allows us to remind ourselves that
regardless of where we are in our journey to quit smoking, it is possible with the right tools. The
Great American Smokeout aims to create an uplifting community, just as the New Mexico
African-American Tobacco Prevention Network has throughout this past year.
Furthermore, it should be recognized that the Great American Smokeout is even more
important in African-American communities, where our people are disproportionately affected
by the tobacco industry. It is key that those in marginalized communities are able to access
resources, education, and support in order to ensure a successful quit journey.
Here are some ways that you can utilize this day as a way to take care of yourself and
connect with others:

1. Educate yourself, your friends, and your family about smoking cessation and resources that are available to them.

One of the best places to start your journey or help someone else start theirs is through education.
Knowledge is power, and when we take the time to understand what it means to take care of our
health and how to do it, it becomes easier to envision a future where we can implement those
self-care tactics into our lives. Take some time to learn about smoking cessation, and utilize
resources that can help you embark on your pathway to a smoke-free future.

2. Make a quit plan

If you are ready to quit, the Great American Smokeout is a great time to create your quit plan.
This means choosing a day to quit, coming up with ways to take care of your body while
quitting, brainstorming productive activities to occupy your time, and coming up with ways to
uplift yourself in times of doubt. Creating a quit plan will make quitting seem much less
daunting, and allow you to approach your quit journey with an air of confidence.

3. Find a quit buddy

One thing we often forget when quitting is that having a circle of support can help guide us in the
right direction. This can mean having someone that you feel comfortable going to when you need
to vent or do something to take your mind off of cigarettes, but it can also mean finding a quit
buddy. A quit buddy is someone who also wants to quit that you can seek as a support system
and vice versa. After all, you both understand what the other person is going through. Make a
quit plan with your quit buddy. Spend time checking in with them and doing things together that
will help encourage both of you to commit to quitting.

4. Research other ways to take care of your mental and physical health

Smoking cessation isn’t just about not smoking cigarettes. While that is the ultimate goal, there
are so many other elements that factor into having a successful quit journey. When embarking on
your quit journey, it is important to acknowledge all of your physical and emotional needs. This
could mean incorporating more fruits and vegetables into your diet, exercising daily, or regularly
visiting a therapist. These are all things that will positively impact your overall health, and will
therefore help you feel driven to quit.

5. Take some time to engage in self-reflection activities

Sometimes, we are so anxious to get somewhere, that we forget about taking a solid first step.
The Great American Smokeout is the perfect time to engage in some self-reflection. Often, it is
difficult for us to understand why we need or do something because we haven’t taken the time to
look within ourselves. Journal about how you are feeling, why you want to quit, what you think
your strengths are, and what areas of your life you think could use some improvement. Usually,
reflecting about our lives can allow us to have a more clear vision of what we want the future to
look like and how we will be able to execute it.

5. Take some time to engage in self-reflection activities

Sometimes, we are so anxious to get somewhere, that we forget about taking a solid first step.
The Great American Smokeout is the perfect time to engage in some self-reflection. Often, it is
difficult for us to understand why we need or do something because we haven’t taken the time to
look within ourselves. Journal about how you are feeling, why you want to quit, what you think
your strengths are, and what areas of your life you think could use some improvement. Usually,
reflecting about our lives can allow us to have a more clear vision of what we want the future to
look like and how we will be able to execute it.

Some journal prompts that you can use to help guide your self-reflection process include:

Today I feel . . .
A good way to take care of myself is by . . .
I am proud of myself for . . .
I feel most powerful when . . .
Today, I will make sure to . . .
Something I can improve on is . . .
I feel down when . . .
Things that uplift my mood are . . .

Lastly, The Great American Smokeout is about getting creative! It doesn’t have to mean
the same thing for everyone. After all, we are all at different parts of our journey. Do what you

need most to feel uplifted. If that means quitting, great! If that means creating your quit plan,
great! If that means writing down reasons why you want to quit, great! These are all valid ways
to engage in the Great American Smokeout and its mission of increasing awareness about
smoking cessation and quitting resources. Do what is right for you!