Northwest Iowa — This Thursday, November 19th is the Great American Smokeout, the day the American Cancer Society uses to encourage smokers to use to make a plan to quit, or to plan in advance and quit smoking that day. By quitting — even for one day — the American Cancer Society says smokers will be taking an important step towards a healthier life – one that can lead to reducing cancer risk. The Great American Smokeout is held on the third Thursday of November each year.
More than 18-percent of Iowa adults smoke cigarettes, according to a survey conducted last year. Many of those Iowans will try to kick the habit beginning Thursday as part of the Great American Smokeout. Garin Buttermore, a community health consultant with the Iowa Department of Public Health, says the move to quit using tobacco has nearly immediate results.
People who quit smoking also save a lot of money and usually notice food tastes better. Buttermore gave up cigarettes more than 13 years ago. He admits it’s easier to quit for some than it is for others. Buttermore says he occasionally struggled with the urge to “light up” again for a few years after he quit, but now he has no problem being tobacco free.
He notes the state’s Quitline Iowa service can help smokers quit.
Once you call the Quitline, a Quit Coach® will help you map out a plan to quit. Throughout your quit, your coach will give you tried-and-true strategies to fend off cravings, stay strong in social situations, and avoid the emotional and physical triggers that can derail you at home and work. The toll-free Quitline Iowa number is 1-800-QUIT-NOW or there’s help online at www.quitlineiowa.org.
The Great American Smokeout has its origins in Minnesota’s first “Don’t Smoke Day” in 1974. The California American Cancer Society got nearly a million smokers to quit for a day in 1976. The next year the Smokeout went nationwide.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 45 percent of Americans smoked in 1965. It was down to 25 percent by 1997, and now they say just 15.2 percent of Americans smoke, which is the lowest percentage since statistics started being kept.