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Adult Smoking Rates Drop Nationally and in Iowa

November 20, 2008

Des Moines, IA – Today is the thirty-third annual "Great American Smoke Out." It encourages people to stop smoking for a day and hopefully for a lifetime. A new report seems to indicate that such efforts, by the American Cancer Society and others, are working. The national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has concluded that fewer people are smoking now than in years past.

Physician Christopher Squier with the American Cancer Society Iowa Council says the smoking cessation numbers for Iowa are extraordinary.

"In Iowa it has really gone down quite impressively, from about 23 percent four years ago to around 18 percent right now, and it looks like it's heading on down."

Squier believes the decline is due largely to two efforts by the legislature: a public smoking ban and a hike in the cigarette tax.

"Some of this decrease that we are talking about without a doubt is due to the increase in tax last year. We also will see it going on down because of the smoke-free legislation. When it's tougher to smoke, when fewer people are smoking around you, you don't smoke."

Squier says the "Smoke Out" is a great way for those thinking about quitting to actually give it a try. Studies have found that quitlines can more than double a person's chances of successfully stopping smoking.

Quitline telephone numbers and cessation program information are available at

Dick Layman/Elizabeth Grattan, Public News Service - IA