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Oklahoma smoking prevalence is declining, but still exceeds national average

An ashtray filled with cigarette butts.
Julia Engel
An ashtray filled with cigarette butts.

The percentage of adults who smoke in Oklahoma is declining, but the state is still above the national average.

The number of adults who smoke in Oklahoma fell from 26.1% in 2011 to 15.6% last year. But Oklahoma is still considered part of the "Tobacco Nation,” which refers to states whose smoking prevalence exceeds 14%.

Shelly Patterson, the Oklahoma State Department of Health’s chronic disease service director, said in a news release the department hopes to continue providing resources like community-based grants and educational programming at schools. Its goal is to get Oklahoma’s smoking prevalence to 14.5% by 2027.

Smoking and secondhand smoke cause chronic conditions like coronary heart disease, lung cancer and Type 2 diabetes. One of every three cancer deaths is linked to smoking in the U.S.

“For those who choose not to start smoking, they are more likely to live a longer and healthier life without chronic diseases often caused by smoking,” Patterson said in the news release.

Oklahomans wanting to quit can call the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline at 1-800-784-8669 or visit its website to explore free services and resources.

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Jillian Taylor has been StateImpact Oklahoma's health reporter since August 2023.
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