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DHMH Issues Tobacco Report

November 7th, 2016 by WCBC Radio

The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has released a report that provides an overview of “Monitoring Changing Tobacco Use Behaviors: 2000-2014.” The report details the progress Maryland has made in reducing tobacco use, as well as highlights the challenges that remain. 

“Smoking is still the leading cause of preventable death and disease here in Maryland,” said Health and Mental Hygiene Secretary Van T. Mitchell. “Protecting the health of  our residents from the devastating harms caused by tobacco use is a top priority of ours.”

Maryland’s tobacco use prevention and cessation efforts have seen some successes. Between 2000 and 2014, there was a relative decrease of more than 60 percent in minors who smoked cigarettes. Of the 15 percent of adults in Maryland who still smoke cigarettes, nearly three-quarters report wanting to quit permanently. However, disparities in tobacco-use behaviors still exist; adolescent tobacco use is highly correlated with other risk behaviors, such as consumption of alcohol, marijuana and other drugs; and prevalence rates of underage youth are nearly two and a half times greater for electronic smoking devices (e-cigarettes) than for cigarettes.  

“I am pleased to release this report to demonstrate our successes, as well as provide information to Marylanders to help battle this deadly epidemic that kills an average of 20 of our citizens each and every day,” added Dr. Howard Haft, Deputy Secretary for Public Health Services. “It is essential to maintain our efforts to prevent youth from ever starting to use tobacco products. For those who are already using them, the department provides evidence-based resources for Maryland residents to help them quit.”

All local health departments provide cessation support and thousands of Marylanders have quit using tobacco with free counseling and nicotine replacement therapy (patch and gum) from the Maryland Tobacco Quitline, 1-800-QUIT-NOW. Quit Coaches are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and more information can be found atwww.smokingstopshere.com.

To continue reducing tobacco use in Maryland and to address the challenges that remain, parents, schools, community groups, health providers and other stakeholders can use this report as a means of providing top-level information relevant to discussions concerning cigarette and cigar smoking, the use of smokeless tobacco, and electronic smoking devices such as e-cigarettes. A digital version of this consumer-friendly summary report, as well as the full state report, can be found at our Center for Tobacco Prevention and Control’s website: https://goo.gl/WExbPr. Additionally, free hard copies can be ordered at https://goo.gl/h3A4Jg. Data is being collected, to provide 2016 updates for both youth and adults, with the release of those data being expected in 2017.   

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