The Centers for Disease Control find a significant decline in the number of smokers in Missouri. The Centers’ new study looks at people who smoke every day as well as social smokers–those who light up a cigar occasionally after a good meal or those who smoke at social events. Everyday smokers have dropped from 23 percent in 2003 to less than 17 percent last year. And the percentage of those who smoke at any time during the year has dorpped from more thnn 27 percent in 2003 to 21 percent last year.
The Missouri Foundation for Health, says several factors are behind the drops including increased bans on smoking in public places. Community Health program director Matthew Kuhlenbeck says private groups have to lead the effort because the state makes little commitment. He says the foundation has provided 28-million dollars to smoking prevention and cessation programs.
He says states with high cigarette taxes also see drops in smoking rates. Missouri has the lowest cigarette tax in the country.
The Foundation has calculated that smoking reduction programs significantly reduce health care costs. Kuhlenbeck says every dollar the foundation has spent helping people quit smoking, has produced 4-dollars-32 cents in long-term healthcare savings.