Oregon - tobacco prevention and education program is working..

January 26, 2011 - A Smoke-Free Workplace Law that took effect in 2009 has made its impact. New data released by the Oregon Department of Human Services revealed that tobacco-related cancer diagnoses and deaths have declined statewide since 1996.
Also, cigarette sales dropped a dramatic 48 percent, along with second-hand smoke exposure in the workplace and home.

Officials say the reason is the public's increasing awareness about the effects of smoking on health (continued tobacco prevention and education programs that have helped shift public attitudes about smoking). Statewide 3.4 billion fewer cigarettes were sold annually in Oregon from 1996 until 2009. Officials said that second-hand smoke exposure has also dropped in the workplace, and more people report that they do not allow smoking in their homes. Smokefree homes have become more pervasive, with 91 percent of adults reporting no one is allowed to smoke in the home.

"As smoking becomes less the norm, people will smoke less and avoid the terrible diseases that come with tobacco use," said Katrina Hedberg, M.D., M.P.H., state epidemiologist. "This not only keeps people healthier, it reduces the cost of treating preventable cancers and other tobacco-related illness."

Tobacco-related cancer deaths went from 93.6 per 100,000 population between 1996 and 2001 to 89.2 per 100,000 between 2002 and 2007, a 4.7 percent drop, according to the Oregon Tobacco Prevention & Education Program's (TPEP) 2011 Oregon Tobacco Facts & Laws report released today. The number of new tobacco-related cancer diagnoses dropped during the same period, from 150.8 to 146.8 per 100,000, a decline of 2.7 percent.

Reducing tobacco use is part of the Oregon Health Authority's "Action Plan for Health" that was released last month. The plan provides specific steps to be taken in Oregon to improve health, lower costs, and increase the quality of health care for all Oregonians.

State officials say tobacco-related diseases cost the state an estimated $2.4 billion a year in total economic costs, which includes about $1 billion a year in health care costs, according to the report.

Hedberg said the tobacco report also shows the areas where more work needs to be done. She points to several red flags raised in the new report:
• Hookah tobacco smoking by Oregon teenagers is on the rise, while use of all other forms of tobacco by teens is decreasing or staying the same. (Oregon - loophole in law - increasing number of kids trying out water pipes..)
• While cigarette sales are dropping, the number of people smoking is staying steady.
• Only 46 percent of smokers with children say that smoking is never allowed in any of their cars.

"Local tobacco control efforts are absolutely critical to helping people stop using tobacco or preventing them from picking up the cigarettes in the first place," says Hedberg. "We will continue offering a wide variety of resources so people can get the information and help they need."

The Tobacco Prevention & Education Program of Oregon Public Health runs the Oregon Tobacco Quit Line, funds anti-tobacco media campaigns, and supports tobacco control efforts in all counties and tribes. Hedberg notes that many counties have policies banning smoking at college campuses, housing, parks and fairs.

Meanwhile, tobacco companies spent $137 million in 2006 marketing their products to Oregonians, according to U.S. Federal Trade Commission reports. In contrast, tobacco prevention and education is funded with less than $8 million a year. "The tobacco industry wants to keep Oregonians addicted, and we need to continually counter their efforts," Hedberg said.

The Oregon Tobacco Prevention and Education Program, funded by state tobacco taxes, works with local health departments, tribes, schools and community organizations to deliver a comprehensive tobacco prevention program to all Oregon residents. These program activities are based on evidence-based strategies to reduce and prevent tobacco use.

Reference: Tobacco Sales Down by Sonia Talati, KOHD.com, 1/26/2011; Oregon Cigarette Sales Down; Cancer Cases, Too But Officials Say More Work Needs to be Done, From KTVZ.COM News Sources, 1/25/2011.

Oregon - some related news briefs:
Oregon - loophole in law - increasing number of kids trying out water pipes..;
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Oregon Supreme Court rejects smoker's $100 million damage award..;
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Why does R.J. Reynolds Tobacco keep on selecting Portland, OR as a test site..;
Oregon - STOP Tobacco Companies from passing out free smokeless tobacco..;
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