Lynn Smith, 84; Newspaper Publisher Invented Smokeout Idea
Lynn Smith, 84, a newspaper publisher and force behind the Great American Smokeout, died Thursday at a Minneapolis nursing home where he had been in long-term care since having a stroke six years ago, his son Donald Smith said.
Smith was publisher of the Monticello Times when he founded Don’t Smoke Days in Minnesota in the 1970s. That led to the Great American Smokeout, the widely observed November day that has raised awareness of the health hazards of tobacco use.
Smith spearheaded what he called D-Day (Don’t Smoke Day) on Jan. 6, 1974, in Monticello, in central Minnesota.
Three hundred people pledged to stop smoking or using tobacco, and Smith put their names on the front page of his newspaper. Three months later, 9% of those people reported they had quit smoking, Donald Smith said.
That fall, the Minnesota Lung Assn. and the American Cancer Society worked with Smith to promote a Minnesota Don’t Smoke Day, his son recalled.
Two years later, the cancer society took the concept nationwide. The Great American Smokeout is held each year on the third Thursday of November.
Betty Van, who sang briefly with Benny Goodman’s orchestra and recorded “Afraid to Dream” with him in the late 1930s, died of natural causes at a Rancho Mirage hospital, according to her daughter, Jennifer Guzzardi. She was 86.