The west lawn of the Iowa Capitol building will be covered by small, lighted memorials this evening as part of a ceremony calling attention to the dangers of smoking. Kerry Finnegan is spokeswoman for the American Cancer Society chapter in Des Moines.The 5:30 ceremony will feature the lighting of 49-hundred luminarias representing the number of Iowans who die every year from tobacco-related diseases. Finnegan says the near-five-thousand luminarias are made of brown paper lunch sacks.Smoking causes some 400-thousand deaths nationwide every year, which Finnegan says is the equivalent to three jumbo jet crashes every day. She says tonight’s ceremony is a precursor for tomorrow’s 26th annual event, the Great American Smokeout, which aims to get smokers to kick the habit for one day in hopes they can make it a permanent change. Quitline Iowa is a big part of the state’s comprehensive tobacco control program. Smokers can create a personalized quitting plan with a support counselor by calling, toll-free, 866-U-CAN-TRY.
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