Arizona Tobacco Use Drops By 21 Percent
PHOENIX - Tobacco use among Arizona adults decreased by 21 percent from 1996 to 1999, with even sharper declines among young adults and Hispanics, according to a new report released today by the Arizona Department of Health Services.
The release of the study, 1999 Arizona Adult Tobacco Survey Report, coincides with todayâ€™s observance of World No Tobacco Day, 2000. The report also represents the first major Arizona tobacco survey taken since ADHS launched its aggressive anti-smoking program in 1996.
This is cause for celebration, said acting Arizona Department of Health Services Director Dr. James Schamadan. This shows weâ€™ve made great strides in the battle against tobacco. Even more importantly, it reveals that teenagers and young adults are getting the message about the â€˜tumor-causing, teeth-staining, smelly, puking habitâ€™.
According to the survey, 23.8 percent of Arizona adults reported smoking in 1996. In 1999, the number was 18.8 percent. This represents a 21 percent decrease in smokers.
Even more striking, the 18-24 age group had a 24 percent decrease in tobacco use from 1996 to 1999 (27.5 percent to 21 percent). This compares to a 17 percent increase for the same age group in national data.
Tobacco use by Hispanics dropped to 14.6 percent in 1999 from 23.5 percent in 1996. This is the greatest reduction seen in any race/ethnicity group, according to the report.
The latest report was taken from a statewide telephone survey of 4,868 adults conducted from May 1999 to November 1999 by the ADHS Office of Epidemiology and Statistics. The sample was randomly drawn from a list of residential telephone numbers throughout Arizona. Questions were administered in both English and Spanish.
The study suggests the campaign is working: In 1999, 78 percent of the respondents recalled seeing anti-smoking advertising on television. Other factors that may have contributed to the decline in adult tobacco use include the cumulative effects of higher wholesale and retail prices, higher state taxes, and restrictions on smoking.
The Arizona Department of Health Servicesâ€™ Tobacco Education and Prevention Program (AzTEPP) is financed by a portion of the tobacco tax increase that was approved by voters in 1994. The state runs a comprehensive program that supports tobacco control activities for both adolescents and adults at the county and community level, provides statewide projects to assist local efforts and develops and implements a statewide bilingual media campaign.