According to the organization, the idea grew from a 1970 event in Randolph, Massachusetts, where Arthur P. Mullaney asked people to give up cigarettes for a day and donate the money they would have spent on cigarettes to a high school scholarship fund.
In 1974, Lynn R. Smith, editor of the Monticello Times in Minnesota, spearheaded the state’s first D-Day, or Don’t Smoke Day.
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The idea caught on, and on Nov. 18, 1976, the California Division of the American Cancer Society got nearly 1 million people who smoke to quit for the day.
That California event was the first official Smokeout, and the American Cancer Society took it nationwide in 1977.
Many public places and work areas are now smoke-free – this protects non-smokers and supports people who smoke who want to quit.