For Immediate Release: November 15, 2022

Media Contact:

Ben Truman │ Vermont Department of Health
802-316-2117 / 802-863-7281
[email protected]  

Make The Great American Smokeout Your Day to Quit Tobacco
Get free help and support from

BURLINGTON, VT – The Great American Smokeout is Thursday, Nov. 17, and Vermonters who smoke or use tobacco can take a first, big step to improving their health by joining this national quit day. Smoking remains the leading preventable cause of death and illness worldwide, claiming an estimated 480,000 lives every year — or about 1 in 5 deaths. The good news is that recent data show that risk drops the sooner someone quits smoking.

“The annual Great American Smokeout is just one day, but it’s a perfect opportunity for those ready to start their tobacco-free life,” said Rhonda Williams, Chronic Disease Program chief with the Vermont Department of Health. “We know that nicotine addiction makes quitting hard. That’s why we want people to know about 802Quits, which has helped thousands of Vermonters quit tobacco by providing free tobacco treatment tips, tools, supports and other resources.”

802Quits offers Vermonters 18 and older the help they need to succeed — by phone, text, online or in a group setting. 802Quits offers support for quitting all forms of tobacco, including vaping. Counseling paired with free nicotine replacement gum, patches or lozenges can double the chances of quitting.

For Vermont youth under the age of 18, confidential help is also available. The vaping epidemic over the past several years has impacted thousands of Vermont youth — 26% of high school students reported current use of electronic vaping products, with more than a third reporting daily use. My Life, My Quit is a program designed by youth for youth to help with quitting any form of tobacco use including vaping nicotine and cannabis. It’s as easy as texting “Start My Quit” to 36072.

A new study by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) evaluating the risk of death among Americans based on their smoking history, found that quitting was associated with an 80% drop in risk compared to risk for current smokers, and that this increased to 90% among those who quit before age 45.

Reducing the prevalence of smoking is a public health priority in Vermont. The 2020 Vermont Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) data show 14% of adult Vermonters report current use of cigarettes, 4% use e-cigarettes, and 2% use smokeless tobacco products. Among adults who currently smoke cigarettes, 53% attempted to quit smoking in the past 12 months.

Smoking has a greater impact on some populations:

  • Vermonters living in rural areas smoke at a statistically higher rate than urban Vermonters (17% vs. 11%).
  • Veterans smoke at nearly two times the rate of non-veterans (26% vs. 14%).
  • Cigarette use among adults with any disability is three times higher than the rate for those without a disability (32% vs. 11%).

Smoking causes damage to all organs of the body, including increased risks for lung and respiratory illness. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) reported adults who used tobacco or electronic cigarettes were more likely to experience severe COVID-19 complications compared to non-smokers.  

There’s no better time than now to quit smoking. For free help, contact 802Quits by phone at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) or visit  

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Images courtesy of Vermont Department of Health

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