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Pittsburghers Slow to Quit
Date:4/2/2008

PITTSBURGH, April 2, 2008 /PRNewswire/ - The latest health data on smoking suggests that while Pittsburghers are cutting back they lag the nation and benchmark cities when it comes to quitting.

This information is among a cluster of indicators based on information from a 2006 report from the U.S. Center for Disease Control and posted today on http://www.pittsburghtoday.org, the Pittsburgh Regional Indicator project web site.

Dr. Bernard D. Goldstein, a member of the indictor organizing committee, remarked that the data show "smoking to be more prevalent in this region than in the nation or most benchmark cities against which Pittsburgh measures itself and that Pittsburghers have more trouble than most quitting smoking."

There are three indicators and a brief explanatory piece by Dr. Goldstein and Jennifer Geiselhart, JD MPH, both of the Graduate School of Public Health at the University of Pittsburgh, that make these additional points:

-- Pittsburgh is the city with the lowest percentage of people who have

never smoked of any of the 15 benchmark cities against which it

measures itself.

-- Only Detroit, among benchmark cities, has a lower rate of people

quitting smoking since 2003.

-- Only three benchmark cities, Detroit, Cincinnati and Indianapolis, have

a higher percentage of smokers than Pittsburgh.

"Our pervasive culture of smoking makes our area particularly challenging to tobacco prevention and control organizations," Dr. Goldstein said. His group promises to have additional indicators on smoking among the young and the effectiveness of prevention programs in the near future. These data are relevant to the debate in Harrisburg that has gone on for months about the appropriateness of a statewide ban on smoking in places of public accommodation, he said.

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