Thursday, August 25, 2011

Smoking rates down in Missouri

KANSAS CITY, MO (KCUR) - A recent survey finds fewer Missourians are lighting up.

A decade ago more than one in four Missourians smoked. Now it’s down to one in five. That’s according to the Centers for Disease Control’s latest annual phone survey.

Kendre Israel, with the state’s tobacco prevention coalition, says Missouri’s decline has outpaced a lot of other states – falling from the third to the eleventh highest smoking rate in the nation since 2004. She says a big increase in smoke-free work place laws across the state partly accounts for this drop.

"You know, those protect people from dangers of second-hand smoke exposure, but they also increase the likelihood people never start people smoking, helps people quit, it helps change social norm in their environment," Israel says.

Israel says other services to help people stop smoking, like Missouri’s quit line, also play a role. Missouri’s smoking rate is still higher than the national average, and Israel says more could be done, including raising the state’s cigarette tax, enacting a state-wide smoking ban, and funding state prevention programs.

Elana Gordon, KCUR


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