The Great American Smokeout, an annual event created in 1977 by the American Cancer Society, is celebrated on the third Thursday of every November to help encourage smokers to try quitting for a day. They are then asked to donate the money they would have spent on cigarettes to a worthy charity. Easy enough, right? Not for the nearly 25 percent of Louisianans who smoke.

Many of us know a smoker who has quit or is trying to quit. It might even be you. The statewide Smoking Cessation Trust program encourages you and anyone you may know who smokes cigarettes to participate in the Great American Smokeout on Nov. 19 and try to quit, not just for one day, but for life.

At the Smoking Cessation Trust, we work to help Louisiana’s smokers who began smoking cigarettes prior to Sept. 1, 1988, to stop — for free. We pay for delivery of any combination of current recommended treatment modalities to assist in up to two 120-day quit attempts each year through mid-2022. With the highly addictive nature of modern cigarettes, it might take that long and a number of attempts for most smokers to actually quit, but help is available at www.smokefreela.org or by calling toll free (855) 259-6346.

We understand that no one likes to be told what to do. But not many folks can resist the idea of doing something for someone else or for charity. So if you can’t stop for yourself, then stop for everyone that loves you. Stop for charity. Stop for your kids. But at all costs, make the decision to stop smoking — for the day, maybe forever.

Mike Rogers

CEO, Smoking Cessation Trust Management Services, Inc.

New Orleans