Over 166,000 Arizonans kicked their tobacco habit in 2010.  Our smoking rate now stands at only 13.5%.  This news is exciting when you consider that many states have seen increases in tobacco use over the last couple of years.  This brand-new data isn’t published yet, but our team thinks that this will put is neck-and-neck with Utah for the lowest smoking rate in the nation.

How did we get here you ask?  We’ve been working hard with our community partners have not taken their foot off the accelerator in their statewide effort to help people to quit and to prevent kids from starting.  Calls to the Arizona Smokers Helpline have soared because of our targeted “call to action” campaign.  For example, in the first six weeks of our You Can Quit- We Can Help campaign, the ASHline received more calls than it had in the previous five months. Enrollment rates have climbed, and the ASHLine has a nearly 40% quit rate after six months (best in the country). We also think that our youth prevention campaign and the implementation of the Smoke Free Arizona Act in 2007 are factors that have helped us make progress.

We expect this recent success to continue as more Arizonans see their family members, friends, and co-workers break their addiction to tobacco.  The social determinants are now weighed heavily in favor of healthy lifestyle choices and being tobacco-free is now the norm!

But that’s not the case in the rest of the world -that’s why the World Health Organization (WHO) set aside today – May 31, 2011 – as World No Tobacco Day.  According to the WHO website:

This year, the tobacco epidemic will kill nearly 6 million people, including some 600,000 nonsmokers who will die from exposure to tobacco smoke. By 2030, it could kill 8 million.

So keep up the good work Arizonans – we’re showing the world it is possible to kick the habit.