The third Thursday in November is the Great American Smokeout, an event initiated by the American Cancer Society in the 1970s to draw attention to problems associated with smoking and ways that smokers can find help quitting.
Smoking is a leading cause of preventable death globally, and claimed 100 million lives in the 20th century. In an effort to combat this issue, Russia has recently passed legislation restricting smoking in public places.
The Health and Development Foundation launched the free mHealth program
QuitTogether has gained almost 5,000 subscribers in the six months since its launch (4,832 as of November 19), across 81 regions of the Russian Federation. Over 95,000 messages have been sent in that time, with health information and psychological support for smokers ready to quit, all developed by leading specialists in psychology and public health.
An online poll in 2015 on the program website among subscribers to the free service (57 total) revealed that 85% found the initiative helpful or very helpful, and 55% had already recommended it to friends and acquaintances.
The psychological support was one of the most important elements for 80% of subscribers polled, and 84% had quit, and had not smoked for over a month.