Iowans are urged to toss out their cigarettes today (Thursday) in hopes they can kick the habit for good as part of the 30th annual Great American Smokeout. Stacie Sarasio, spokeswoman for the Council Bluffs/Omaha chapter of the American Cancer Society, says non-smokers should encourage their smoking loved ones, friends and co-workers to clear the air.
Sarasio says people are urged to declare their independence from nicotine by calling the national quitline to get hooked up with local smoking cessation counselors for the best tips on quitting. The toll-free hotline is 800-Quit-Now.
Sarasio says it’s important to convince smokers to quit, not only for their own health but for the health of people around them, as second-hand smoke kills up to 40-thousand non-smokers in the U.S. every year.
Sarasio says smoking is responsible for one in five deaths in the U.S. including 30-percent of all cancer deaths, adding, about 163-thousand people will die this year from a smoking-related illness. She acknowledges some people will want to try and quit on their own, which is fine. For those who don’t want to talk with counselors on the phone, she says there’s always the Internet.
Log on to “www.GreatAmericanSmokeout.org” to get all of the information they might otherwise find via the 800-number. The American Cancer Society’s website also contains a host of information at “www.cancer.org”. News conferences are planned today in five Iowa cities to promote the Smokeout — in Cedar Rapids, Carroll, Des Moines, Mason City and Sioux City.