9:10 am
Fri August 20, 2010

New Survey Says Fewer Smokers in Washington

Programs aimed getting adults to quit smoking are continuing to pay off. That's the word from state officials who say Washington now has the third-lowest smoking rate in the nation.

Over the years the state's thrown just about every possible resource at helping smokers quit, according to Tim Church with the Washington's Department of Health.

"Programs in schools, programs in local communities, a quit line, and a large advertising campaign."

The survey results show Washington has an adult smoking rate of about 15%, a new low. Those numbers are based on a national survey of the Centers for Disease Control. Recent state budget cuts gutted the anti-smoking ad budget, though. Church says that will make it tougher to reach the group with the highest smoking rate.

"That lower income, lower education group is smoking at a very high rate, pretty much double of the overall population."

The state's focus will be to work more closely with health care providers and people on Medicaid.

"They get nicotine replacement therapy like gum and the patch. So that's another way of trying to reach out and provide services to this group that absolutely needs them."

Washington ranks behind only Utah and California in having the lowest percentage of smokers, according to the new survey results. Another thing to consider: the state has the second highest tobacco tax in the nation.

For More Information: CDC Survey Results data

The toll-free Washington State Quitline is 1-800-Quit-Now