ATLANTA, GA (WALB) - The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) says fewer young people are using tobacco in the state, and rates are falling steadily and significantly.
Over the past decade, rates of youth who have used any form of tobacco have dropped from 26.1 percent in 2003 to 19.4 percent in 2013. The percentage of high school students who smoked cigarettes on at least one day during the 30 days before the survey, declined from 20.9 percent to 12.8 percent.
Adult smoking rates are also falling, down from 21.2 percent in 2011 to 18.8 percent in 2013. That's a prevalence rate slightly lower than the U.S. average of 19.0 percent.
More than 1.5 million Georgians aged 18 and older smoke cigarettes. Another 315,000 adults in Georgia use some form of smokeless tobacco like chewing tobacco, snuff, or snus.
Tobacco use is the number one preventable cause of death in Georgia. Annually, tobacco-related illness costs more than $5 billion dollars in direct healthcare costs and indirect costs, such as lost wages.
More than half of Georgians who use tobacco want to quit, and the Georgia Department of Public Health and its partners have set goals to decrease youth smoking to less than 10 percent and adult smoking to less than 15 percent of the population by 2020.
Tobacco users across Georgia can work toward meeting those goals with a quit attempt during the Great American Smokeout, Thursday, Nov. 20. The day encourages smokers to quit or to use the day to make a quit plan. Help is available. Talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or call the Georgia Tobacco Quit Line. The Quitline is currently offering free nicotine replacement therapy to Medicaid participants, the uninsured, and certain other groups that qualify.
English: 1-877-270-STOP (877-270-7867)
Spanish: 1-877-2NO-FUME (877-266-3863)
Hearing Impaired: 1-877-777-6534
The Georgia Tobacco Quitline is a free, confidential and effective service available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (including holidays) to help Georgians quit smoking or using any forms of tobacco, including electronic cigarettes or other electronic nicotine delivery devices.