cigaretteIowans who want to kick the cigarette habit can get plenty of encouragement today .

The annual Great American Smokeout is getting underway, according to Caroline Clark, with the Iowa chapter of the American Cancer Society.

“We’re encouraging everyone to put up your cigarettes, your chewing tobacco and quit smoking for a day forever,” Clark says. “We have some great tools to help you do that.”

The rationale is, if you can quit for one day, you can quit for good. For help, call the agency’s toll-free number, 800-227-2345, or visit the website:

Clark says, “We have some great materials, lots of brochures, different ways to keep their mind off smoking, different tips and tricks to help them stay motivated and a great tool kit and a plan to help them quit smoking and stay smokefree.”

A survey released earlier this year found around 18 percent of Iowans over age 18 smoke. That’s down from just over 20 percent in 2011.

(Thanks to Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City)