STUTTGART, Germany -- The Great American Smokeout takes place Nov. 21, 2019.Quitting smoking isn't easy. It takes time and a plan. You don't have to stop smoking in one day.Start with day one. Let the Great American Smokeout event be your day to start your journey toward a smoke-free life. You'll be joining thousands of smokers across the country in taking an important step toward a healthier life and reducing your cancer risk. Plus, the American Cancer Society can help you access the resources and support you need to quit.Why is this event important?Smoking remains the single largest preventable cause of death and illness in the world. More than 34 million Americans smoke cigarettes. Smoking causes an estimated 480,000 deaths every year, or about one in five deaths. More than 16 million Americans live with a smoking-related disease.While the cigarette smoking rate has dropped significantly, from 42 percent in 1965 to 14 percent in 2017, the gains have been inconsistent. Some groups suffer disproportionately from smoking-related cancer and other diseases, including those who have less education, those who live below the poverty level, or those who suffer from serious psychological distress, as well as certain racial and ethnic groups.Quitting smoking improves health immediately and over the long term -- at any age. You can increase your chances of success with help. Getting help through counseling and medications doubles or even triples your chances of quitting successfully.Nicotine in cigarettes is one of the strongest and most deadly addictions one can have. It takes commitment to quit smoking but it starts with a plan. Often times it takes more than one attempt to quit, and it requires a lot of support. The younger one begins smoking, the more intense the addiction.The Great American Smokeout challenges smokers to stop smoking for 24 hours, hoping their decision not to smoke will last forever. If you or a love one smokes, consider joining the movement Nov. 21, and take the first step toward quitting forever. Smokers are strongly advised to use proven cessation methods, such as prescription medications and counseling, to quit smoking. It's a good idea to talk to your doctor or pharmacist to get their advice.How to Observe Great American SmokeoutMake a plan. Learn about options to curb cravings and get your support system ready to help you through hard times. If you're trying to help someone else quit, check out some ways to ensure you're doing it the right way.Get rid of anything smoke-related. It's the perfect day to remove all smoke-related items from your home. Remove all cigarettes, ashtrays and lighters from your car and workplace as well. Also consider stocking up on substitutes like gum and crunchy snacks.Reflect on your smoking past. If you've tried to quit before, the Great American Smokeout is a good time to reflect on your past attempts. Think about why those attempts didn't work and be proactive to ensure these reasons don't get in your way this time around.Visit www.cancer.org to learn more about quitting smoking, improving your health, or getting involved with the Great American Smokeout in your community. Call the central appointment line to TRICARE Beneficiaries at DSN: 314-590-2900 or Civ: 06371-9464-2900, or the American Cancer Society any time at 1-800-227-2345 for support.