Today (Nov. 21st) marks the 44th annual "Great American Smokeout", a day set aside to encourage smokers to make a plan to finally kick the habit.

Here's the good news, cigarette smoking ins the U.S. just a hit an all-time low! In 2018, 13.7% of adults smoked. That's down around TWO-THIRDS since 1965, when 42.4% of Americans smoked. That's a substantial amount of change, which is great. But think about it, it took nearly 55 years to convey the adverse health consequences of smoking. Years advertising and marketing campaigns, no smoking laws, and society making it taboo to smoke.

What about Iowa? According to the Iowa Department of Public Health, in 2018, 17.1% of Iowa adults smoke cigarettes. Just slightly higher than the national average. Nearly 5,100 adult Iowans die each year from their own smoking with $1.285 billion annual health care costs directly caused by smoking. Of course, it's hard to know, exactly how many former smokers have turned to Vaping, E-Cigarettes & Electronic Smoking Devices however with outbreak of lung injury associated with the use of these products doesn't make them a very viable alternative.

So here we are in 2019, and smoking remains the leading preventable cause of disease, disability, and death in the United States. Can we ever get the number of smokers down to zero? Probably not, can we get that number under 10%? We'll see...but it starts with you (or someone you love) if you/they have tried to quit smoking, only to start up again, remember, every try counts! Click here for help to quit smoking:

More From 97.7 KCRR