NEWS RELEASEFor Immediate Release |Sept. 27, 2016
Media Contact | Holly Ward
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New Data Shows Adult Smoking Rate in Arizona Drops to Historic Low
More than 200,000 Arizonans Quit Smoking in the Last Five Years
PHOENIX – New data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that the adult smoking rate in Arizona has dropped to a historic low of 14 percent. The new 2015 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System report shows the percentage of Arizona adults who smoke has dropped from 19.3 percent in 2011.
This decrease translates to more than 200,000 Arizonans who quit smoking over the last five years. Smoking is a leading cause of death in the United States and Arizona, which is why helping people quit smoking is a top priority of the Arizona Department of Health Services.
“I am excited to see this significant decrease in the number of people smoking in our state,” said Dr. Cara Christ, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services. “As we all know, smoking causes several negative health effects such as heart disease, cancer, respiratory disease, and stroke.”
The impact this drop has on our state reaches far beyond the 200,000 people who made the positive choice to quit smoking, according to Dr. Christ.
“Secondhand smoke is also harmful to family members who don’t smoke, especially children,” said Dr. Christ. “The more people who make the choice to quit, the more lives will be improved in Arizona. As the saying goes, when you quit tobacco, you put more years in your life and more life in your years.”
In addition to the positive health benefits of quitting smoking, reducing tobacco use represents a positive impact on the Arizona economy. Several studies indicate that as tobacco use declines, the financial burden related to workplace productivity, increased medical expenses, and premature death is also reduced. Far beyond the price of a pack of cigarettes, the true cost of smoking must take into account several alarming consequences, such as premature disability and death, lost earnings, increased medical expenses, and lower property values.
“Our goal is to have the lowest smoking rates in the United States,” said Dr. Christ. “We are working hard to achieve that goal so more of our citizens can lead longer, healthier lives.”
To help people quit smoking, the Arizona Department of Health Services operates the Arizona Smokers’ Helpline, or ASHLine. The ASHLine offers free individual counseling to people who want to quit any tobacco product. The ASHLine can also offer free nicotine replacement therapy such as the patch, lozenges, and nicotine gum for up to four weeks. Anyone interested in quitting smoking can call the ASHLine at 1-800-556-6222, or at www.ASHLine.org.
The ASHLine is funded by Prop 200, the Tobacco Tax and Health Care Act passed by Arizona voters in 1994, which increased the state sales tax on tobacco products and was designed in part to reduce tobacco use in Arizona.
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