"Why did you decide to stop smoking?" Staff writer Carol Krucoff and photographer Michael Ford Parks went to the Washington Monument grounds during last week's Great American Smokeout to ask quitters why they decided to participate in the American Cancer Society's "smokeless Thursday."

Dave Douglas, 40, of 17th Street and New Hampshire Avenue NW: "My number one reason to quit for the day was the Great American Smokeout. I realized if I stop for today, it may mean the beginning of not smoking at all. I'd gotten to three packs a day. So far, I'm doing fine, but I did miss not having a cigarette with my morning coffee."

Bush Beason, 58, Potomac: "Just quitting for 24 hours is all I promise. I'm doing it for my health, my wife and the people in my carpool."

Roswell Wing, 54, Kensington: "I quit because I had a bad sore throat last week and I didn't feel like smoking. I'm a heavy smoker, three packs a day, and I guess I'm surprised that so far, quitting is not as hard as I thought. I came out here today instead of somking cigarettes, drinking a beer and eating a hamburger."

Nora Simpson, 31, of 50th and East Capitol streets SE: "When I heard about the Smokeout, I really wanted to make the effort to stop myself. My kids want me to stop and a couple weeks ago, I began to have a bad feeling in my chest. It's been over 12 hours since I had a cigarette."

Annie Lue Taylor, 57, of 14th and Potomac streets SE: "I came here because I wanted to see what the Great American Smokeout was all about. I've been smoking about 20 years and I guess I smoke about seven a day. I haven't had a single one since midnight and it's not bothered me at all."

Bill Loveless, 52, Sandy Spring: "I quit smoking about 10 years ago and I think the idea of Smokeout is wonderful. Smoking is harmful to health and smells terrible."

Warren Boss, 62, of 16th and Holly streets NW: "I quit in March on St. Patrick's Day because my blood pressure was too high. I was smoking over two packs a day, and I wanted to support the Smokeout."