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Adults smoking in Wisconsin drops to 16%, state officials say

November 29, 2018

Adults who smoke in Wisconsin are becoming fewer and fewer.

New data from the state Department of Health Services compiled for 2017 shows 16 percent of adults smoke, the lowest percentage since statistics have been gathered by DHS.

The smoking rate had been at 17 percent the past few years, and was at 21 percent in 2011.

“The hard work by community organizations, health educators, families and young people to provide information about the dangers of smoking, and programs available to help people quit, is making a difference,” said State Health Officer Karen McKeown.

The DHS Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System survey showed one of the biggest reductions in smoking came in the 35-44 age group, dropping from 24 percent in 2016 to 19 percent in 2017.

Some groups still have relatively high smoking rates.

Data averaged out from 2013 to 2017 showed Native Americans, including Alaskan Natives, smoking at a 37 percent rate, multi-racials at a 30 percent rate, African Americans at a 28 percent rate and LGBTQ at a 26 percent rate.

The survey also showed 46 percent of e-cigarette users and 39 percent of smokeless tobacco users also smoke regular cigarettes.

Economics and education also play a role in tobacco use, with 29 percent of the people earning less than $25,000 a year continuing to smoke, and 28 percent of those with less than a high school degree also continuing to smoke.

People with depression is another high-use group at 28 percent, the survey said.

“The department is committed to helping everyone live their best lives, and being tobacco free is an important part of that goal,” McKeown said.

Free quit tobacco help is available by calling the Wisconsin Tobacco Quit Line, 800-784-8669.

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