Wisconsin reaches a record low for adult smoking rates. That's according to the results of a statewide survey from DHFS shows an adult smoking rate in Wisconsin of just 19.6-percent. The findings put Wisconsin just below the national average of 20-percent for the first time ever.
DHFS Secretary Karen Timberlake says the recently enacted dollar increase in the cigarette tax is getting most of the credit for helping to lower the rate. Not only has it convinced many people that the habit is too expensive, but Timberlake says it also discourages teenagers from picking up the habit because of the high cost.
The Wisconsin Tobacco Quit Line has also been quite effective in offering smokers the help they need to stop smoking. Timberlake says over 20,000 people have called the free service since January to get counseling and access to anti-nicotine medications.
The report does offer some bad news though. Despite the overall rate going down, smoking among the African-American community remains high in Wisconsin. Timberlake say the Department must continue focusing on outreach efforts in those communities to address the problem.
The Secretary says the lower rate is something Wisconsin can be proud of. However, she says the state can do better and additional efforts will be needed to continue seeing rates drop.