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Health department warns about tobacco and radon

This news story was published on November 19, 2015.
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MASON CITY – November brings light to Lung Cancer Awareness Month. Throughout this month, the Cerro Gordo County Department of Public Health recognizes the dangers that radon and tobacco products can have on the respiratory system.

First Alert RD1 Radon Gas Test Kit

Iowa is known for its high radon levels. In fact, average indoor radon concentrations in Iowa are more than six times the national average. Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that is the second-leading cause of lung cancer (the first among non-smokers). Radon is a Class-A human carcinogen recognized as the leading cause of lung cancer in the United States among non-smokers. The National Academy of Sciences and the Surgeon General estimate that as many as 21,000 lung cancer deaths that occur in the U.S. annually may be a result of radon exposure.

“Radon is tasteless, ordorless, colorless gas,” said Jenna Willems, Healthy Homes Program Coordinator, Cerro Gordo County Department of Public Health. “Most people do not know they have a serious health risk right in their own home. This is why it’s very important to have your home tested for radon every two years.”

To have your home tested for radon, contact the Cerro Gordo County Department of Public Health. We offer in-home monitor testing services and do-it-yourself test kits for $6 each. This is a very important step in maintaining you and your family’s optimum health.

The leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S. is smoking. According to the American Cancer Society, smoking induced lung cancer cases killed 159,260 people in 2014. Tobacco use accounts for at least 30% of all cancer deaths per year.

Thursday, November 19th is the Great American Smoke Out. We support all tobacco users in putting down their tobacco and nicotine products for the day…or forever. By quitting — even for one day — you will be taking an important step toward a healthier life — one that can lead to reducing your cancer risk.

“We encourage tobacco users to begin thinking about making changes,” said Penny McCaslin, Tobacco Program Coordinator, Cerro Gordo County Department of Public Health. “They should begin by calling Quitline Iowa to see if the free Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) product(s) are a good fit for them; then register for a Freedom From Smoking (FFS) course.”

If you are interested or know someone interested in quitting smoking, Tobacco Free North Iowa will host their next Freedom From Smoking course in January.  Contact the Cerro Gordo county health department for more information.

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