Part of the authorizing statute for our tobacco prevention programs includes a requirement that we develop a bi-annual report of our progress and activities. Just two years ago, we reported that we were shifting to an “evidence-based” approach to our prevention activities. In other words- we shifted our intervention strategies to focus on approaches that have been statistically proven to work. This year’s report shows that our shift in approach clearly paid dividends.
Our newly published bi-annual report demonstrates that Arizona has made great strides in several important areas of tobacco control. We’re now ranked in the “Best Ten” of several major categories, including: lowest exposure to secondhand smoke in the home and workplace, lowest tobacco use among pregnant women, biggest drop in overall tobacco use, biggest drop in heavy tobacco use among youth, low tobacco use among women, and low overall tobacco use (the 2010 smoking rate is now just 13.5% percent in AZ).
More Arizonans are using nicotine replacement therapies, as evidenced in a 42% jump in nicotine replacement use among AHCCCS members (we pay for this using our tobacco prevention funds). Over the last 2 years we’ve increased the number of Arizonans using the ASHLine by 300%; and a nation-leading 6% of active tobacco users in AZ called on our quitline to get help. More people are getting real help via the Internet, and are being linked to successful programs by their doctors. We’ll continue to press ahead with this evidenced based approach over the coming year. Well done team!