Brief history of the Great American Smokeout and statewide bans
Today marks the 37th annual Great American Smokeout, which was created on November 18, 1976 by the California Division of the American Cancer Society. Close to one million smokers quit for the day. The Great American Smokeout takes place every year on the third Thursday of November, one week before Thanksgiving. Vapor4Life celebrated the day last year by having a “Trade a Pack” event in their Smokeless Lounge. Smokers were invited to come in to trade their pack of smokes for an e-cigarette starter kit.
Throughout the years the tobacco industry and the way people react to it have changed dramatically. It wasn’t that long ago when students smoked in class, passengers smoked on planes, and moviegoers smoked in the theater. It was more common to see people smoking, than not. If you weren’t around in the ’60s, just watch an episode of Mad Men to see just how common smoking was. The timeline below gives some interesting facts about how the Great American Smokeout was instrumental in banning smoking around the country.
- 1908: New York City Council passed the Sullivan Ordinance which would have banned women from smoking anywhere except their homes, but the mayor vetoed it two weeks after it passed.
- 1976: San Francisco, CA hosted the first Great American Smokeout event.
- 1977: Berkeley, CA began limiting smoking in public places including restaurants.
- 1983: San Francisco, CA banned smoking in private workplaces.
- 1990: Federal government banned smoking on all interstate buses and domestic flights of six hours of less.
- 1994: Mississippi filed a lawsuit against tobacco companies to recover millions of dollars from smoking-related illnesses paid for by Medicaid.
- 1995: California banned smoking statewide.
- 1997: Smoking was banned in all interior spaced owned, rented, or leased by the Executive Branch of the Federal Government.
- 1998: Department of Transportation banned smoking on all commercial passenger flights in the US.
- 1999: Department of Justice filed suit against cigarette manufacturers, charging the industry with lying to the public about smoking risks.
- 1999: The Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) was passed, forcing tobacco companies to pay $206 billion to states to cover smoking-related health costs and public education efforts. MSA closed the Tobacco Institute and forbid cartoon advertising and tobacco billboards.
- 2002: Delaware banned smoking statewide.
- 2003: Connecticut, Florida, New York banned smoking statewide.
- 2004: Maine, Idaho, Massachusetts banned smoking statewide.
- 2005: American Cancer Society reported 23% of high school students smoked.
- 2005: Georgia, Montana, Vermont, Rhode Island, Washington banned smoking statewide.
- 2006: Arkansas, Colorado, Nevada, Hawaii, Ohio, New Jersey banned smoking statewide.
- 2007: Arizona, DC, Louisiana, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Tennessee, Utah banned smoking statewide.
- 2008: Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Pennsylvania banned smoking statewide.
- 2009: Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act was signed into law. It gives the FDA authority to regulate the sale, manufacturing, and marketing of tobacco products.
- 2009: Nebraska, Virginia, Oregon banned smoking statewide.
- 2010: Kansas, Michigan, North Carolina, South Dakota, Wisconsin banned smoking statewide.
- 2012: Indiana, North Dakota banned smoking statewide.
Do any of these dates surprise you? How have smoking bans affected you?