A new federal study finds seven out of ten current cigarette smokers say they wish they could quit — and today is their latest opportunity. Chuck Reed, spokesman for the Iowa chapter of the American Cancer Society, says the number of smokers is continuing to fall in the state and nationwide.

Just in Iowa, the adult smoking rate has fallen from well over 20% to 14% in just a few years. “Many, many Iowans have quit smoking,” Reed says, “and the state is becoming healthier.” The Cancer Society is sponsoring today’s annual Great American Smoke Out which Reed says has been changed up a little this time around.

This is the 36th annual smokeout and instead of this just being a day to quit smoking, Reed says it’s been “tweaked” a little bit so today is also a day to make one’s plan to quit smoking — setting a date and specific goals. Studies have found that smokers who try to quit “cold turkey” are only successful about five-percent of the time. Reed says your odds are much better if you seek help.

“Call the QuitLine or call the American Cancer Society and get some coaching or just some support,” he says. “If you do that, along with nicotine replacement therapy, the gums and patches, if you combine those two, your success rate for quitting smoking is about 40%.”

Some Iowa restaurants are making special offers today to encourage smokers to quit, like giving free cold turkey sandwiches in exchange for packs of cigarettes. Learn more online at “www.cancer.org” or by calling 800-ACS-2345.

By Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City