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Adult Smoking Rate Continues Downward Trend
Date:8/19/2007

People of lower income and education still smoke more and are less likely

to quit

OLYMPIA, Wash., Aug. 1 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A new survey by the Washington State Department of Health shows the number of adult smokers in the state is continuing to drop. Since the department began its Tobacco Prevention and Control Program in 2000, adult smoking has gone from 22.4 percent to a new low of 17 percent. Washington continues to have the fifth lowest smoking rate in the nation.

The most recent numbers from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System survey show a decline from a 17.6 percent smoking rate in 2005 to 17 percent in 2006. Although a relatively small drop, the data confirm a continued trend of fewer people smoking in our state. The overall drop in smoking since 2000 translates to about 235,000 fewer smokers in the state, and $2.1 billion saved in future health care costs for Washington.

"It is clear that Washington is making strides in reducing smoking and I am pleased with the progress; yet we need to do more to help those who are having problems quitting for good," said Governor Chris Gregoire.

The latest research shows that people with low income (less than $25,000/year) and less education (high school diploma or less) smoke at higher rates than the general population and are less likely to quit successfully. Smoking among these groups has not dropped significantly in recent years.

"Tobacco prevention and control is a priority for our state, and overall it is paying off with fewer smokers," said Secretary of Health Mary Selecky. "At the same time, I'm concerned about the higher smoking rates for some groups. We continue to look for new and creative ways to reach people with low income, lower levels of education, and others who are more likely to smoke."

Smoking rates are higher among low income adults at 30 percent; the rate is 27 percent among people with less education. Co
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SOURCE Washington State Department of Health

Copyright©2007 PR Newswire.

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