Former Campbell County Commissioner and Gillette City Councilman Stephen F. Hughes, 66, was found dead inside his business, Landmark Inc., early Friday morning, according to information released by …
SALT LAKE CITY — Utah’s teen smoking rate has dropped to its lowest recorded level at 5.9 percent, according to a state health report.
The Health Department’s annual Tobacco Prevention and Control in Utah said the rate has fallen more than 50 percent since 1999. Health officials attribute the decrease to a variety of factors, including higher cigarette taxes, a greater awareness of the health risks of smoking and an increase in support services for those who want to quit smoking.
The state’s adult smoking rate of 11.3 percent is the lowest in the nation.
“But our work is far from finished, as there are still 220,000 adult smokers in Utah and four out of five of them want to quit,” said Amy Oliver, marketing manager of the state’s Tobacco Prevention and Control Program.
The report showed an awareness of cessation programs is on the upswing among adult smokers.
Eighty-eight percent of them were aware of the Utah Tobacco Quit Line, according to a poll conducted for the health department.
Ninety percent of adult smokers took up the habit before the age of 18, which officials say suggests a need for prevention efforts. Youth education efforts are under way in 21 school districts that serve 220,000 students.
Teens told health officials that they try smoking because of the “cool factor,” Oliver said. In some rural Utah communities, teens reported they smoked out of sheer boredom.
Once nonsmoking youth reach their 20s, Oliver said, the good news is they are far less likely to succumb to the cool factor.
The trends are so encouraging that state officials look forward to a time when they have worked their way out of jobs.
“I want someday not to have a job and know that Utah is completely smoke-free. That’s the vision for the future,” Oliver told the Deseret News.