A fun event with a deadly serious message: You need to stop smoking now.

On Nov. 16, 1977, the American Cancer Society held the first Great American Smokeout in San Francisco, a carnival with mimes, a gigantic green dragon, and four young women dressed in pickle costumes.

The Smokeout may have had a party vibe but the message behind the event was deadly serious: You need to stop smoking now.

The American Cancer Society sponsors the Great American Smokeout the third Thursday in November each year, helping smokers kick the habit at least for 24 hours. It's an opportunity to find support, resources and encouragement for smokers who wish to kick the habit and to take strength from fellow smokers going through the same thing.

If you want help quitting, visit the American Cancer Society for info and guidance. Also, read the stories of a few men and women who used their obituaries to offer encouragement to those trying to quit.

http://ak-cache.legacy.net/legacy/images/Cobrands/SaltLakeTribune/Photos/MOU0017789-1_20120713.jpgVal Patterson: My regret is that I felt invincible when young and smoked cigarettes when I knew they were bad for me. Now, to make it worse, I have robbed my beloved Mary Jane of a decade or more of the two of us growing old together and laughing at all the thousands of simple things that we have come to enjoy and fill our lives with such happy words and moments. My pain is enormous, but it pales in comparison to watching my wife feel my pain as she lovingly cares for and comforts me. I feel such the "thief" now - for stealing so much from her - there is no pill I can take to erase that pain.



Sharon Jacqueline D'Alessandro ObituarySharon Jacqueline D'Alessandro: On Oct. 3, 1983, Sharon quit smoking for good, but only after making several failed attempts. She found success in a program through the American Lung Association called "Freedom from Smoking." Sharon would like her personal struggle with smoking to be an encouragement to others, to never give up trying to quit.




http://ak-cache.legacy.net/legacy/images/Cobrands/News-Leader/Photos/SNL044897-1_20140213.jpgBenny Crisp: Due to the unusual circumstances of his birth, Ben always strived to prove his worthiness and was a quite a workaholic until the COPD finally played its hand. He would urge anyone to quit smoking or never to start. The ravages of that disease are heartbreaking.




Dorothy Dobson ObituaryDorothy Dobson: She ended her life with great pride that she finally had the strength to quit smoking, about 10 months ago.