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Smoking Rates Decline in RI

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

 

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control recently released findings from a 2009 survey that evaluated the smoking habits of Rhode Islanders, concluding Ocean State smoking rates are steadily dropping.

According to the CDC, smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke causes 443,000 deaths in the U.S. each year—that’s 1 in 5. Yet, tobacco use remains the single most preventable cause of death in the country. The CDC estimates smoking-related diseases result in $96 billion in health care costs annually. In Rhode Island, 17.4% of the adult population (aged 18+ years)—over 142,000 residents—are current cigarette smokers, less than the 18.4% average. Rhode Island's smoking-attributable mortality rate ranks 27th among the states; among youth aged 12–17 years, 11.3% smoke (the range across all states is 6.5% to 15.9%).

There's Still Work to Be Done

Annemarie Beardsworth, the Rhode Island Department of Health (HEALTH) spokeswoman, says the two major factors contributing to the decline is the state’s smoke-free law, which prohibits smoking in indoor workplaces, including restaurants and bars, enacted in 2005, and the cigarette excise tax. When the tax increased to $3.46 per pack last year, it became the highest cigarette tax in the nation, which it continues to be. “The declining overall smoking rate is good news, however, there are some rates we really need to pay attention to,” said Beardsworth. Smoking rates among youth ages 18-24 and segments of the population who are low income, uninsured or unemployed, for example, need improvement, she said. HEALTH will be working in conjunction with the City of Providence on a focused smoking cessation effort for youth using $3.3 million in federal stimulus dollars, while smokers around the state have access to tools including the Quitline at, accessible by calling 1-800-TRY-TO-STOP or visit www.quitworksri.org/welcome/trytostop.php
 

 

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