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Iowa Adult Smoking Rate Continues to Fall

Armen Hareyan's picture

A state survey shows that 18 percent of Iowa adults were current smokers in 2006, down from 20.3 percent in 2004. Iowa is continuing to make progress in reducing adult smoking even as the decline in smoking appears to have stalled nationwide. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the national adult smoking rate has remained at 20.9 percent since 2004.

Three quarters of adult tobacco users who were surveyed said that they want to quit, with half of the smokers reporting they were seriously considering quitting within the next 6 months. Nearly all (95 percent) of Iowans believe breathing smoke from other people's cigarettes is harmful, and 90 percent also believe that people should be protected from exposure to secondhand smoke.

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The statistics come from the 2006 Iowa Adult Tobacco Survey, conducted by the Center for Social and Behavioral Research at the University of Northern Iowa.

State officials are concerned about two trends revealed by the survey. The smoking rate for young adults (18 - 24) was 34 percent, about twice the rate for all adults. Additionally, individuals living below the poverty line were two-and-a-half times more likely to be smokers than adults at higher income levels.

"Iowa has always done a great job in preventing youth smoking, and now we are beginning to make significant progress in reducing the number of adults who smoke", said Bonnie Mapes, head of the IDPH Division of Tobacco Use Prevention and Control. "It is vitally important for the health and economic well-being of Iowans that we maintain this momentum by ensuring that all tobacco users have access to affordable and effective services to help them quit," Mapes added.

Free, effective smoking cessation services are available at Quitline Iowa (1-800-QUIT-NOW). That service, available seven days a week, can assist Iowans in quitting tobacco use. The state survey showed nearly 75 percent of Iowa tobacco users would like to quit using tobacco altogether.