Report: King County adult smoking rate stalls

July 10, 2012

By Staff

The adult smoking rate in King County stalled between 2007 and 2011, but tobacco use still accounts for one in five deaths countywide and $343 million each year in health care expenses and lost wages.

The information comes from a Public Health – Seattle & King County report about tobacco use. Officials released the document May 31 to mark World No Tobacco Day.

The report estimates 155,000 King County adults — or about 10 percent of adults — smoke cigarettes and another 26,000 adults use smokeless tobacco.

Though the overall smoking rate in King County is among the lowest in United States, the county has the most extreme smoking inequities among the 15 largest metropolitan counties in the United States.

The smoking rate among black or multiple race adults is double the rate among whites. A King County adult in a low-income household is three times more likely to be a smoker than a high-income household adult. Countywide, 19 percent of lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender adults smoke — almost double the county average.

The report estimated more than 15,000 students — including one in four high school seniors — used cigarettes or other tobacco products in the past month.

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