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. Benton County reminds residents who have made the healthy choice to quit smoking that help and support is available through Quitline Iowa.

In Iowa, 16.7 percent 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 are almost immediate, said Benton County Public Health Director Melissa Smith. “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 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 smoke-free environment

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

Benton County 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.

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