August 12, 2010 - EUGENE — The state Department of Human Services report shows the smoking rate in Oregon has dropped significantly since the state began its Tobacco Prevention and Education Program in 1996. The report shows fewer people are smoking in Oregon overall, although the rate among people with lower incomes has not changed.
The report says smoking among lower-income people "has stubbornly remained at around 35 percent." One in three adults earning less than $15,000 per year was a smoker, compared with one in 10 adults earning $50,000 or more.
Overall, the smoking rate declined from 24 percent of Oregonians in 1996 to 17 percent in 2007. Rates among children also dropped sharply, from 22 percent of eighth-graders in 1996 to 9 percent in 2007, and from 28 percent of 11th-graders in 1996 to 16 percent in 2007.
The amount of cigarettes sold in the state fell 46 percent from 1996 to 2009.
"This is good news, as smoking is the leading cause of preventable death," said Adelle Adams, a health educator in the Tobacco Prevention and Education Program of the Marion County Health Department. "As we see smoking rates go down, it's very likely that we will also see improved health outcomes." Clearly, prevention and education are paying off, Adams and other public health officials said Monday.
"We have the tobacco prevention programs throughout the state of Oregon. That program is in every county. We have a coordinator in every county who works on policy changes to reduce tobacco use," said Randi Phillips, a public health supervisor in the Polk County Health Department.
Anti-smoking policies and laws also have played a role in cutting smoking, officials said.
The report said most smokers want to quit, regardless of income level, citing surveys in which 80 percent of Oregonians who smoke said they would like to quit and 51 percent said they stopped for at least a day in the past year in an attempt to
January 1, 2009 - The Oregon Smokefree Workplace Law (Oregon Indoor Clean Air Act)
Reference: Low-income Oregonians cling to their cigarettes, report says Smoking rate drops overall and among children, officials say, staff, Journal reporter Alan Gustafson contributed to this story, Statesman Journal, 8/10/2010.
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