Iowa’s smoking cessation program gets national accolades


August 7th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Almost one in five Iowans smoke and a program to help them quit is getting new accolades. A survey of Iowans who smoke finds 83-percent wish they could quit. From that figure, Operation 83 was launched. Lori Mein, a nurse practitioner at the Mercy Clinic in Des Moines, says they work with Quitline Iowa to give smokers the necessary tools.

Smokers who come to the clinic can get one-on-one counseling, while those on Title 19 Medicaid may qualify for three months of medication that can ease the transition to a smoke-free lifestyle. Operation 83 is being featured in a new publication, “Staying Well,” from the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Action Network. Seven months after completing the program, up to 24-percent of clients weren’t using tobacco. Only about four-percent of smokers without support could say the same. While she’s a lifelong non-smoker, Mein says she’s lost several family members to smoking, though it wasn’t to lung disease or cancer, but heart disease.

The latest figures from the CDC find just about 19-percent of Iowans smoke, or 429-thousand people. That’s slightly above the national average. Tobacco use is blamed for killing more than 44-thousand Iowans every year. Learn more at “” or call 800-Quit-Now.

(Radio Iowa)