From Brandy Powers, Page County Public Health

New Year resolutions are common this time of year. Some are easily broken; others are sincerely made, but hard to keep.

The decision to eliminate tobacco from your life is a commitment that takes self-control and support. Iowans who have made the healthy choice to quit smoking are reminded help and support is available through Quitline Iowa.

In Iowa, 17.1% of adults smoke. One in four Iowa adults uses tobacco in some form; cigarettes are the most used. Tobacco is the leading cause of death for Iowans, taking the lives of more than 5,100 adults each year.

“The benefits of stopping the use of tobacco and nicotine are almost immediate,” said Brandy Powers, Tobacco Prevention Coordinator for Southwest Iowa. “According to the American Cancer Society, within 20 minutes, your heart rate and blood pressure drop. Within 12 hours, the carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal. Within two to three months, your circulation improves and your lung function increases. After one year of living tobacco free, the excess risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a continuing smoker’s.” Even so, nicotine is an addiction and breaking that addiction can be challenging. Quitline Iowa can provide help.

Quitline Iowa pairs tobacco and nicotine users with a Quit Coach to help them develop an individualized quitting plan and determine the best way to help them stay tobacco-free. A Quit Coach also helps by:

Preparing participants for their quit date

Providing tips and support to live in a tobacco-free environment

Offering advice and information on medications that may help with withdrawal symptoms

Iowa residents can take advantage of the program by calling 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669), or visiting www.quitlineiowa.org to enroll.

Registration specialists and Quit Coaches are available 24 hours a day. In addition, the Iowa Department of Public Health offers a special program called My Life My Quit for teens who want to quit using tobacco, including e-cigarettes. Teens can text “Start My Quit” to 855-891-9989 or visit mylifemyquit.com for real-time coaching.

Brandy Powers serves six counties in Southwest Iowa (Adams, Fremont, Montgomery, Page, Ringgold and Taylor counties), housed at Page County Public Health.

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