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Iowans Set to Make Noise About Health at the State Capitol

February 9, 2011

DES MOINES, Iowa - Iowans are expected to gather at the State Capitol today (Wednesday) for the American Cancer Society (ACS) Iowa Chapter's annual "Day at the Capitol." The event allows people to have meetings with legislators to discuss critical health issues.

This year, ACS Director of Government Relations Peggy Huppert says the state has made huge strides in curbing smoking, although budget-slashing is putting that at risk.

"We know that if we slack on our efforts, that the smoking rate will start inching back up – which will mean unhealthier Iowans and more state expenditures for health care."

Many Iowa Republicans contend it is just part of good budgeting to trim programs, even if they are aimed at smoking prevention and quitting, but Huppert contends these programs are critical.

"If you can keep them from smoking when they're teenagers, then chances are they won't start as an adult. So, the prevention piece is very important – but so is cessation."

She says most Iowa smokers want to quit and try at least seven times unsuccessfully to give up the habit. With smokers' eventual needs for health care, ACS believes the state has a stake in helping them quit.

Dick Layman, Public News Service - IA