Smokers in Minnesota are being urged to kick the habit today (THU) as part of the “Great American Smokeout.” The American Cancer Society’s Matt Shafer says that the annual event has its roots in our state. It was based on an idea of the editor of the Monticello Times, Lynn Smith. He promised to publish the names of 300 people who pledged to quit smoking for one day on January 6th, 1974 on the front page of their newspaper. Shafer says it led to Minnesota’s first “Don’t Smoke Day.” California followed suit in two years and then it went nationwide. Anti-smoking groups are using the day to raise awareness about the connection between tobacco use and cancer as well.