The butt stops here. Butt out. Kick butt.
However you say it, the day again is coming when the American Cancer Society reminds smokers that the habit costs money, harms others and can take years off the life of users.
The Great American Smokeout, set for Thursday, is the annual call for smokers to take the challenge to quit by visiting www.cancer.org or participating in local smoking-cessation programs.
"There's just so many reasons to do it," said Aynsley Anderson, community education coordinator at Lawrence Memorial Hospital. "It's such an important step to take."
The American Cancer Society lists the benefits: decreased risk of heart disease, stroke and a plethora of cancers - and improved health of others who breathe in secondhand smoke. Each year, 3,900 Kansas die from diseases directly linked to smoking, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The Kansas Health Policy Authority has targeted tobacco users with its proposals to increase the tobacco tax and impose a statewide ban on smoking in public places.
But many acknowledge that dropping the habit is not easy.
Eudora resident Ray Thomas smoked for more than 50 years before medical problems related to her gums and her dentist's urging convinced her to work on becoming a nonsmoker.
"It was not money that could make me quit," Thomas said. "I would have sacrificed everything for those cigarettes. It's so surprising how very hooked you are."
Thomas set out to quit in 2001. She attended smoking-cessation classes at LMH, finding comfort in realizing that she wasn't the only one struggling with addiction.
Thomas battled the effort on several fronts. She started by taking away her favorite cigarette of the day, the one after breakfast. Then she gave up her second favorite cigarette of the day and so on.
She broke up her routine and made it more difficult to smoke by placing her pack in the trunk of her car.
"Even then as you're driving, you'd have to pull over and stop and get them out of the trunk of the car," she said. "It's no fun if you don't have your habit. It's all a mind game."
Years later and smoke-free, Thomas fights the occasional craving and says she hopes others kick the habit.
Her advice: Change your habits, make small goals and gradually increase them - and stay strong in those seemingly impossible moments when the cravings come.
"The craving is so, so severe," she said, "but it passes quick if you would just hold out."
There is no single solution, said Anderson, who runs American Cancer Society Fresh Start classes and other smoking cessation programs at the hospital.
"Classes aren't for everybody," she said. "Online support isn't for everybody. You've got to try to find the solution that works for you."
Anderson said she advises smokers to develop plans for how they will quit and how they will deal with difficult situations. And she talks with smokers about various methods, such as medication, pills and practices, that can aid in the process.
"The more stuff you can throw at this problem, the more successful you could be," she said.
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment uses grant funds to offer a toll-free counseling service. Callers to (866) KAN-STOP get around-the-clock access to trained counselors who work with smokers to develop plans for quitting.
The Quitline worked with about 1,400 callers between January and September.
A recent Quitline survey found 46 percent of clients who participated in at least four counseling sessions between June 2006 and May 2007 quit tobacco within three months.
"This is available to anyone in the state," said Ginger Park, media and policy coordinator for the Kansas Tobacco Use Prevention Program. "With any type of tobacco cessation, people have to be ready to quit."