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Smoke-free programs work in Washington state, says CDC

Local policymakers meet Jan. 3 to discuss support for tobacco program

SNOHOMISH COUNTY—Low smoking rates in Washington state may be connected to active tobacco education and intervention programs, according to recent survey data from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The Dec. 14 report compares cigarette smoking in 99 metropolitan areas across the nation.

The Everett-Seattle-Bellevue metroplex ranked in the nation’s lowest one-third for smoking prevalence. Washington state’s overall percentage of current smokers (20.7%) also is lower than the national median (23.2%). Washington’s percentage of daily smokers who quit for at least one day in the 12 months preceding the survey is the same as the national median (49.4%).

“These statistics show we’re on the right track, but we’re not ‘breathing easy’ yet,” said M. Ward Hinds, MD, MPH, Health Officer for Snohomish Health District. “The success of our tobacco prevention and control program in Snohomish County will be the improved health of our citizens—stronger hearts, cleaner lungs and longer, more vigorous lives,” he said.

“The people of Snohomish County demonstrated their support for tobacco control by voting overwhelmingly for the increase in cigarette excise tax,” said Dr. Hinds. “Now we need a pledge for continued support from our city, county and state policymakers to show they are on the same page as the voters.”

Elected and appointed officials will talk about secondhand smoke, tobacco control and prevention Jan. 3 at “Make Tobacco History: A Policy Discussion,” from 7-10:30 a.m. in the ballroom of the Monte Cristo Hotel, 1507 Wall St., Everett. Featured speakers at the invitation-only event include State Representative Jeanne Edwards (1st District), and Snohomish County Executive Bob Drewel.

The CDC report is available online at www.cdc.gov/mmwr. To inquire about the Jan. 3 policy discussion, please call 425.339.5279.

Established in 1959, the Snohomish Health District works to improve the health of individuals, families and communities through disease intervention, health promotion, and protection from environmental threats. Find more information about the Health District at www.snohd.org.

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