A survey from the state Health Department shows cigarettes continue to be the tobacco of choice among Iowans. The director of the department’s Tobacco Use Prevention and Control division, Bonnie Mapes, says about 20 percent of Iowans smoke cigarettes, and far fewer use smokeless tobacco. She says only about two-percent of Iowans are currently using chewing tobacco. She says chewing tobacco is used more heavily in the rural areas. Some people switch to chewing tobacco to kick the habit of lighting up — but Mapes says that isn’t happening here. She says there are reports of that happening in which people use chewing tobacco as an aide to quit smoking, but she says that hasn’t happened in Iowa. She says the problem with that approach is that chewing tobacco isn’t a safe alternative to smoking. She says the chewing tobacco rate has gone done along with cigarette smoking, although much less because the percent who chew is much less. If you need help to stop smoking or chewing tobacco, you can call Quitline Iowa at 1-866-U-CAN-TRY. It’s a free service.
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