Partners in Prevention - Great American Smokeout: Each day is a good day to quit nicotine


Last updated 11/29/2022 at 8:24am

For more than 40 years, the American Cancer Society has hosted the Great American Smokeout on the third Thursday of November. While this year’s date has come and gone, each and every day is a good opportunity for smokers to commit to beginning healthier smoke-free e-cigarette-free lives — not just for a day, but all year round. The Great American Smokeout provides an opportunity for individuals to make a plan to quit.

According to The Campaign for Tobacco-free Kids, tobacco use exacts a heavy toll. Smoking is the leading cause of preventable disease and death, claiming the lives of more than 480,000 adults in the United States each year, along with an estimated 41,000 deaths from secondhand smoke exposure. Currently, 16 million people are suffering from smoking-caused illnesses.

Closer to home, smoking has a significant impact on our state. 1,600 Montanans die each year from their own smoking. 19,000 Montana kids alive today will ultimately die prematurely from smoking. Annual health care costs in Montana directly caused by smoking total $511 million, with Medicaid costs caused by smoking totaling $87 million.

In addition to lung cancer, smoking can lead to a variety of respiratory complications and chronic diseases including asthma, chronic bronchitis, emphysema, coronary heart disease, stroke, pneumonia, and cancer of the mouth and throat, bladder, stomach, cervix, kidneys and pancreas. A smoker’s lifespan is about 14 years shorter than a nonsmoker’s.

Continuing epidemic: Vaping

E-cigarettes (called “vaping” or “vapes”) are now the most commonly used tobacco product among Montana’s teens. According to the Montana Office of Public Instruction, more than half of Montana high school students have tried e-cigarettes and one in three Montana high school students currently use e-cigarettes.

E-cigarette aerosol is not “harmless water vapor.” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that the e-cigarette aerosol that users breathe from the device and exhale can contain harmful and potentially harmful substances, including:

• Nicotine. In any form, nicotine is unsafe for youth. Nicotine is highly addictive and can prime the brain for addiction to other drugs in the future.

• Ultrafine particles that can be inhaled deep into the lungs.

• Flavoring such as diacetyl, a chemical linked to a serious lung disease.

• Cancer-causing chemicals and heavy metals such as nickel, tin, and lead.

Free help is available at Montana Quit Line

Kicking the habit isn’t easy, but there are resources to help such as the Montana Tobacco Quit Line. Through this free service, you will be guided into a program that will best fit your individual needs. The Montana Tobacco Quit Line offers specialized counseling for a broad spectrum of tobacco and e-cigarette users, including pregnant smokers, teen users, spit tobacco users, and for American Indians.

Montana Tobacco Quit Line services

• Enroll by calling 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) or

• A free personalized quit plan.

• 5 free pro-active cessation coaching sessions.

• free nicotine replacement therapy (patches, gum and lozenge) for callers 18 and older engaged in the program.

• free cessation medication for callers with doctor prescription.

• Online chat options.

Montana American Indian Commercial Tobacco Quit Line

• Dedicated toll-free number 1-855-5AI-QUIT (1-855-524-7848).

• Staffed with culturally sensitive American Indian coaches.

• Five additional coaching sessions (10 calls total).

• Now offers a combined protocol to deliver our culturally tailored program for pregnant American Indians along with the cash incentives and post-partum support (14 calls total).

Pregnancy Post-Partum Program

• Enroll through 1-800-QUIT-NOW.

• Personal female coach.

• Five calls during pregnancy and four additional coaching calls postpartum (nine calls total).

• CASH INCENTIVES — $20 for each completed coaching call while pregnant, $30 or each completed coaching call post-partum ($220 total).

Help for young people: My Life, My Quit

A program to directly help youth under the age of 18, My Life, My Quit offers:

• Dedicated toll free number 1-855-891-9989 or text “START” to 36072.

• For youth under age 18.

• Free coaching sessions by live text, online chat, or phone. 

• Coaches specially trained in working with youth. 

• Respects privacy through confidential enrollment and coaching.

The Great American Smokeout provides a great opportunity to make your plan to quit, but every day is a good day to quit. Help with quitting is free and just a phone call or text away

For your family and loved ones — and especially for you — make the call today.


Havre Public Schools and the HELP Committee and Boys & Girls Club of the Hi-Line are committed to promoting safe and healthy lifestyles to become long-lived, responsible citizens. For more information on this or related topics, contact the HELP Committee at 406-265-6206.


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