While the number of smokers in Iowa has continued to drop, the health impact on those who quit hasn’t caught up yet. Peggy Huppert of the Iowa chapter of the American Cancer Society says a new report from the Centers for Disease Control shows the number of smoking-realated deaths hasn’t dropped as quickly as the smoking rate.

Huppert says the smoking rate in Iowa has gone down by 22% over the last two years, but she says there’s a long time between when people stop smoking and we see the results. She says it can take 20 to 30 years before we start to see a drop in lung cancer deaths. The C-D-C report says smoking accounts for 44-hundred Iowa deaths each year. Huppert says lung cancer is the number one cancer killer of Iowans.

"Unfortunately once lung cancer is diagnosed, it has a very high mortality rate," Huppert says. She says there’s not a good screening process for lung cancer and it is tough to treat, but she says it is preventable by not smoking. Huppert says the report shows the need to not let up on smoking reduction efforts.

Huppert says smoking is a very tough habit to break, as she says nicotine is more addictive than heroine. She says while 80% of smokers want to quit, the average smokers attempts to quit eight times before they’re successful. Huppert says the state needs to continue directing resources to programs to help people stop smoking. Huppert says in addition to the smoking deaths, tobacco use costs the state over one billion dollars in annual healthcare bills.