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First Don’t Smoke Day
In November 1990, your reporter had the pleasure of interviewing Lynn Smith at his home near the Mississippi River in Monticello. Don’t Smoke Day (D-Day) was 16 years old at the time. As publisher of the Monticello Times, Smith had helped create D-Day, which then quickly became a worldwide movement to encourage people to quit smoking.
Now known as the Great American Smokeout (a name started in California, Smith said), the annual late-November event is promoted by the American Cancer Society and is now in the thirty-ninth year since the first D-Day on Jan. 7, 1974. You will likely be hearing about the fortieth anniversary next month.
Back in 1990, Smith said during the interview he initially thought D-Day would play itself out in a year or two. But the nation, and the world, embrased the idea, and now World No Smoking Day takes place at the end of May each year, after being started by the World Health Organization in 1987.
Smith, who passed away in July 2005, told your reporter he remembered amusing his children by blowing smoke rings in the air before he quit smoking in 1954 at the age of 34. He wasn’t sure why he quit, but he recalled smoking was an annoying habit and the first link between smoking and lung cancer was becoming known around that time.
When he helped start D-Day in 1974, WCCO Radio’s Boone and Erickson broadcast from the Monticello Times office. After that, an idea created in a small river town in Minnesota was adopted around the world.
Thanks for the interview
Thanks, Mike Muller, for an interview about joining the Movie Theater Owners’ Hall of Fame. This week’s feature story tells about growing up in a local movie theater family and expanding to eight theater locations in recent times.