Great American Smokeout Advisory for Healthcare Providers

Great American Smoke Out – November 18, 2021

Posted Nov. 5, 2021. Past health advisories and alerts are archived for historical purposes and are not maintained or updated.

Take part in the Great American Smokeout this November by asking your patients about tobacco and nicotine use. Although use of e-cigarette and other vapor products has increased in recent years, smoking remains the single largest preventable cause of death and illness in the world. Smoking causes an estimated 480,000 (approximately 1 in 5) deaths every year. Nearly 34 million American adults still smoke cigarettes.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

  • Most adult smokers want to quit (68%).
  • More than half of adult smokers have made a quit attempt in the past year (51%).
  • About half of adult smokers who had seen a health professional in the past year reported receiving advice to quit (57.2%).

Even brief advice from a physician to quit, 3 minutes or less, improves the likelihood of a quit attempt.

The Washington State Quitline provides free tobacco cessation counseling and medication to Washingtonians, helping them live longer, healthier lives. The Quitline is increasingly tailored to meet the needs of specific populations, from teens who vape to adults with serious mental illness. Still, more than 8,000 Washington adults die each year from smoking.

To refer a client to the Quitline, go to, click ‘Refer A Patient’, and complete the form. The Quitline will call them within 48 hours to complete their registration and enroll them in a program based on their insurance status. Anyone, including health care providers, can call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) to learn about available services. Washingtonians can text READY to 200-400 to register for free telephone counseling, as well as text- and web-based cessation support.

A free Quitline training is now available at, and more information for providers can be found at

In 2020, 201 uninsured/underinsured participants in Spokane County registered with the Quitline. A recent evaluation estimated that nearly 35% people quit tobacco seven months after registering, and that for every $1 Washington spends on services, it saves $5 in medical and other costs. However, a 20% decrease in Quitline registrations has coincided with the COVID-19 pandemic. According to CDC, smoking is a risk factor for severe COVID-19 illness, so it is as important as ever to ask clients if they use tobacco, advise those who smoke to quit, and refer clients who are ready to quit to treatment resources, like the Quitline. A grant from the CDC enables the Quitline to provide free counseling and nicotine replacement therapy to uninsured and underinsured participants.

Thank you for your ongoing commitment to your clients’ health, particularly during this challenging time. If you should have any further questions about local resources, please contact AJ Sanders:

For more than 40 years, the American Cancer Society has hosted the Great American Smokeout on the third Thursday of November; November 18, 2021. The Great American Smokeout is an opportunity for people who smoke to commit to healthy, smoke-free lives – not just for a day, but year-round.