Arkansas - more and more smokers are quitting..

July 19, 2009 - New survey information shows that there are nearly 100,000 fewer smokers in Arkansas since the beginning of the Arkansas Department of Health’s (ADH) Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Program in 2002. When the program started in 2002, 25.1% adults smoked in the state; more current data show that those numbers have decreased to approximately 20.7%.

“This news is also good for Arkansas’s economic health,” Governor Mike Beebe said. “When fewer people smoke, we have healthier employees, healthier families and less demand for health-care services. It all adds up to a healthier workforce, which will help us in our efforts to attract new business and industry to Arkansas.”

The ADH Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Program (TPCP) funded through the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement, works to reduce tobacco use in Arkansas. Through community and school prevention programs, a media and public relations campaign known as Stamp Out Smoking, and cessation services for tobacco users looking to quit, TPCP continues to see the positive effects of its efforts.

Arkansas has made significant strides over the past year to provide more services for tobacco users who want to quit, and Arkansans have overwhelmingly responded. Since 2008 the toll-free Arkansas Tobacco Quitline has received more than 22,000 calls. The Quitline, found at 1-800-QUIT-NOW, now offers free motivational coaching with a QuitCoach by phone or online and free medications while supplies last.

While helping tobacco users quit smoking provides maximum benefits for the state and the individual, it is equally as important to ensure youth never start. Arkansas has been successful in continuing a decline in youth smoking despite national statistics remaining stagnant. In Arkansas, youth smoking has decreased from 34.7 percent in 2001 to 20.7 percent in 2007.

A decline in tobacco use in the state benefits all Arkansans. It means lower health care costs due to smoking-related illness, less exposure to secondhand smoke and longer life expectancy resulting in more time with loved ones. Smoking is a major cause of heart disease, stroke, emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Since the Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Program began in 2002, the number of hospital admissions in Arkansas for heart attack, stroke, chronic bronchitis and emphysema has declined progressively each year resulting in substantial savings in healthcare costs.

Reference: Adult Smoking Drops In Arkansas, Submitted by ruzik_tuzik,, 7/9/2009.

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