The Great American Smokeout is an effort to help people quit smoking

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – Today was the Great American Smokeout, a day that was designated by the American Cancer Society to help Americans take the first steps to quit smoking.

It was an event created by the American Cancer Society urging smokers to give up their cigarettes for 24 hours as an initial step towards quitting. But in 2019, 43 years after the first smoke out in California, there wasn’t a single special activity in San Diego.

To mark this day, Dr. Igor Medic who treats cancer patients at Grossmont Hospital says he still sees too many people who are sick or dying because of smoking.

Smoking rates have fallen since the 1970’s. In 1965, about 42 percent of american adults were smokers. That number came down to 15.5 percent in 2016. Smoke free polices, a hike in the cost of cigarettes and anti-smoking campaigns all played a part in bringing those figures down.

But Dr. Medic thinks we may have reached a plateau. He believes that smoking rates could increase because there’s a new agent of addiction: electronic cigarettes. In the most recent statistics from the California Department of Health, 10 percent of California adults are smoking, and two percent of teens smoke.

The numbers are reversed for vaping: three percent of adults are vaping and almost 11 percent of teens use electronic cigarettes.

For more information about kicking the nicotine habit and improving your health go to

Categories: Health, Local San Diego News, National & International News