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Adult smoking at record low in state

December 12, 2014

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) announced today that the state’s adult smoking rate is at the lowest rate ever recorded in Wisconsin.

The adult smoking rate is at 18 percent, a two percentage point drop from 2012, and is consistent with the national smoking rate of 17.8 percent recently announced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The data from the Wisconsin Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System Survey (BRFSS) also shows that smoking rates remain high among specific groups. For example, the survey found that 33 percent of Wisconsin residents who are low income or have less than a high school degree still smoke.

Meanwhile, sales of tobacco to underage youth also declined in 2014 to 6.4 percent; down from 7.3 percent in 2013. The Department credits responsible retailers and available resources for that decline.

In addition, the 2014 Youth Tobacco Survey (YTS) by the UW-Milwaukee Center for Urban Initiatives and Research found that while youth smoking was down, the use of smokeless tobacco products among high school youth increased from six percent in 2012 to nearly ten percent in 2014. The study also found that the use of e-cigarettes by Wisconsin high school students was 75 percent higher than the national average.

Resources are available for Wisconsin residents who want to quit tobacco, including the Wisconsin Tobacco Quit Line at 1-800 QUIT NOW, which offers free help and medications. Since 2001, the Quit Line has fielded more than 200,000 calls.