Iowans who smoke cigarettes are the targets of this week’s Great American Smokeout, the biggest annual event to get people to kick the habit. Chuck Reed, the Iowa spokesman for the American Cancer Society, says November is National Lung Cancer Awareness Month.

“When you look at the fact that cancer affects one in two men, one in three women in their lifetime, that’s such a huge number,” Reed says. “We like to remind people to get their screenings and do what they can to avoid cancer and in November, quit smoking. Tobacco use accounts for 30% of all cancers worldwide.”

Lung cancer deaths are about equal to the number of deaths from prostate, breast, colon and pancreatic cancers combined. The Smokeout is scheduled for Thursday and it’s in its 37th year. “Back then, it was done by a newspaper editor who just wanted people to quit for one day, just to show yourself you can do it, and since then, we’ve tweaked it a little bit,” Reed says.

“We’d love for you to quit for one day but more importantly, it’s a great day to make a plan to quit for good.” Many chapters of the American Cancer Society across Iowa are hosting special events, like offering a free cold turkey sandwich to anyone who brings in a pack of cigarettes and vows to quit.

“There are those events going on around the state,” Reed says. “I encourage everyone to check your local newspaper or wherever you get your information. There’s numerous ones going on around the state. This day does get pretty good awareness about quitting smoking and hopefully, living a healthier lifestyle.”

Estimates find that 2,300 Iowans will be diagnosed with lung cancer this year and 18-hundred will die from it. Learn more at:

By Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City