Today is the 31 st annual Great American Smoke Out for smokers. It’s a one day challenge to all smokers to go 24 hours without a cigarette.
Missouri has one of the highest smoking rates in the country. Nearly 23 percent of adults smoke. That’s three percent higher than the national average and smokers in this state start early.
"Our youth smoking rates have actually dropped over the years as our smoking rates have, but we still have high youth smoking rates too and the earlier that somebody starts smoking the more likely they are to be a smoker for life," Department of Health Tobacco Use Prevention Program manager Victoria Warren said.
63 percent of Missouri adults who smoke say they intend to quit in the next six months.
"The real key is of course to keep from starting the in first place, but if they have already started, to work with them on quitting when their addiction may be is not as strong as it will be when by the time they hit 40," Warren said.
Friends and family can help a smoker quit by being supportive and remembering that smoking is an addiction.