Washington area cigarette smokers are invited to "get off their butts" today by participating in the American Cancer Society's Great American Smokeout.
The Cancer Society will celebrate the second annual "day to quit somking" with a rally at the Sylvan Theater on the Washington Monument grounds from noon to 1 p.m. By encouraging smokers to kick the habit for one day, society officials said they hope that smokers will be able to quit for a lifetime.
Touring professional golfer Lee Elder , a three-pack-a-day smoker, will preside at the rally by tossing his cigarettes into a large kiln. Mickey Mouse and Smokey the Bear will encourage audience members to follow Elder's lead. WMAL radio personalities Hardin and Weaver will emcee.
The Cancer Society estimates that one in five smokers in the metropolitan area will participate in the smokeout. Trades and industries, fraternal organizations, the federal government and the school system will join in encouraging smokers to quit for the day.
Last year's Smokeout was a success, according to an society-sponsored suvey. Three out of every 10 cigarette smokers either stopped or cut down smoking for the day. There was also a decline in cigarette smoking one month after the event.