Take part in Great American Smokeout

American Cancer Society event is an important step toward a healthier life

Every year, on the third Thursday of November, smokers across the nation take part in the American Cancer Society Great American Smokeout event. Encourage someone you know to use the date to make a plan to quit, or plan in advance and then quit smoking that day. By quitting — even for one day — smokers will be taking an important step toward a healthier life and reducing their cancer risk.

About 40 million Americans still smoke cigarettes, and tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the world. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death for both men and women in Iowa and accounts for at least 30 percent of all cancer deaths in the US. Smoking kills people — there’s no “safe” way to smoke tobacco. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that the annual health care costs in Iowa directly related to smoking totals $1.2 billion.

The American Cancer Society Great American Smokeout on November 16, is the perfect opportunity to quit smoking. No matter how old you are or how long you’ve smoked, quitting can help you live longer and be healthier. By quitting, you can add up to 10 years onto your life. Having a set quit date allows you to create a plan for what to do when you actually quit — including how you’ll handle dealing with withdrawal and staying quit (maintenance).

The Great American Smokeout event also helps fuel new laws that can help save lives. ACS CAN (Cancer Action Network), the nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society, supports evidence-based policy and legislative solutions designed to eliminate cancer as a major health problem. ACS CAN works to encourage elected officials and candidates to make cancer a top national priority and gives ordinary people extraordinary power to fight cancer with the training and tools they need to make their voices heard. For more information, visit wwwacscan.org.

Increasing tobacco taxes has proven to be an effective way to prevent children from smoking and help adults quit. In 2018, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network will be asking Iowa lawmakers to support an increase in Iowa’s cigarette tax. Lawmakers make many decisions that impact the lives of Iowans touched by cancer and their leadership is vital to defeating this disease.

More than 5,000 Iowans die from smoking each year — 55,000 Iowa youths alive today will die prematurely from smoking. The economic impact of smoking is also troubling. Iowa spends over $1.2 billion in annual healthcare costs directly caused by smoking– approximately $365 million of that is covered by the state Medicaid program. Increasing the price of cigarettes is a proven and effective strategy to reduce usage. Currently, Iowa’s cigarette tax is $1.36, ranking us 29th nationally. ACS CAN is proposing a $1.50 increase. An increase of this size will have a significant and positive public health and state revenue impacts.

Increasing the tobacco tax is a win-win-win solution for Iowa: a public health win that reduces smoking and saves lives, a financial win that reduces smoking-caused health care costs and raises much-needed revenue, and a political win because tobacco taxes have the strong support of the public.

The society is here to help all cancer patients, including lung cancer patients, get the help they need when they need it. Last year alone we assisted more than a million people who called us for help, providing free services like a place to stay while traveling for treatment, rides to treatment, emotional support, and much more.

Mark your calendar for the American Cancer Society Great American Smokeout® on Nov. 16 — the day to make a plan to quit smoking for good.

Liddy Hora is the senior manager for hospital systems for the American Cancer Society. Contact her at


Need some help?

Increase your chances of quitting successfully by talking to your health care provider or by connecting with the following resources:

• Call Quitline Iowa at 1-800-QUITNOW to enroll in a free smoking cessation program.

• Contact the Webster County Health Department at 573-4107 for addition support.

• Call UnityPoint Health — Trinity Regional Medical Center at 574-6258 to enroll in its seven-week smoking cessation program.

• Contact your American Cancer Society at cancer.org/smokeout or call 1-800-227-2345 for free tips and tools. #GASO