New Research Shows Adult Smoking Rates Dropping
OLYMPIA, Wash., Sept. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- New research shows the number of tobacco users in Washington State is going down. The Washington State Department of Health today released the results of two new tobacco-use surveys, and the news is encouraging.
The telephone surveys show an 8 percent decrease in the number of smokers in Washington from 1999 to June 2002. This translates to 83,200 fewer smokers or roughly enough smokers to equal a city the size of Everett.
"This is a great start," said Secretary of Health Mary Selecky. "We have been working closely with local health departments and anti-smoking advocates to create a potent force to fight tobacco use and save lives. I'm pleased with the results."
The 8 percent drop not only saves lives, it saves money. The decline in smoking means that 28,000 people were spared early deaths, which means the state will save $134 million in future medical costs. There is also more money in the pockets of those smokers who quit. Assuming a pack a day habit over a year, these former smokers collectively will have $150 million at their disposal.
The two-year old Tobacco Quit Line has received more than 24,000 calls from Washington residents seeking free help in kicking their tobacco habit. Also, Washington adults and teenagers will continue to see an aggressive presence on television in the form of graphic advertising that showcases the harmful effects of tobacco use.
"Every year tobacco claims more lives than AIDS, alcohol, drug abuse, car crashes, murders, suicides, and fires combined, making it the leading cause of preventable death in the United States," Selecky said. "This research shows we are making progress, but there is still a tremendous amount of work to do. We must make sure all teens and adults in our state know the truth about tobacco use, and are aware of the resources available to help tobacco users quit. This is a battle I refuse to lose."
The Washington State Department of Health is in the third year of a $29 million comprehensive program to reduce teen tobacco use and to help smokers and other tobacco users quit.
Visit the Washington Department of Health Web site at http://www.doh.wa.gov for a healthy dose of information.