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Study Suggests Stronger Tobacco Control Policies in States With High Smoking Rates Would be Effective in Reducing Smoking and Saving Thousands of Lives
Date:5/5/2008

LEXINGTON, Ky., May 5 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- According to new research findings published today in the Southern Medical Journal, if Kentucky fails to implement and enforce strong tobacco control policies more than 17,000 state residents will needlessly die prematurely from smoking over just the next fifteen to twenty years. Kentucky currently has the highest adult smoking rate in the United States. Kentucky also has weak public policies addressing smoking, with a cigarette tax ranked 46th of all states and tobacco control expenditures ranked 39th among states.

Using a model called SimSmoke, researchers from the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation studied the effect such policies can have on future smoking prevalence and smoking-attributable deaths in Kentucky. SimSmoke is a computer simulation of tobacco control policy effects developed by David Levy, Ph.D., the study's author and a senior research scientist at PIRE. The model was developed with Ellen Hahn, DNS, Professor from the University of Kentucky College of Nursing and College of Public Health and Director of the Tobacco Policy Research Program, and staff from the Kentucky Governor's Office of Wellness and Physical Activity, Tobacco Prevention & Cessation Program.

The model examined the impact of tobacco control policies specifically recommended in the Healthy People 2010 goals, a set of health objectives for the nation that includes reducing adult smoking prevalence to 12 percent by 2010. If the United States is to make progress toward reaching those goals, states such as Kentucky with high smoking rates must lower those rates.

If current tobacco policies are maintained, the SimSmoke model estimates that about 7,500 adults will die prematurely from smoking this year alone, and that number will increase in future years. However, when the policies recommended by Healthy People 2010 are implemented, as many as 1,100 deaths may be averted in the year 2020 alone. Th
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SOURCE Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation
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