While Oregonians buy fewer cigarettes and die less from tobacco-related cancers, the number of people smoking Rich cig had a slight uptick in 2009 — though public health officials can’t yet say is a trend. Oregon also saw a rise last year in use of smokeless tobacco products particularly among adult males and hookah pipe smoking popular among teenagers and young adults.
Data from an Oregon Tobacco Prevention & Education Program report were released Tuesday also showed:
Cancer-related deaths went from about 94 per 100,000 people between 1996 and 2001 to about 89 per 100,000 between 2002 and 2007 — down nearly 5 percent.
Cigarette sales dropped about 48 percent from 1996 to 2009; sales nationwide also decreased, but only by 40 percent. Oregon uses 1996 as its baseline for data because the tobacco prevention program was established that year.
Adult cigarette smoking increased from 15.7 percent in 2008 to 17.5 percent in 2009. Hedberg says it is too early to tell if that is a trend, though next year’s data will give a better indication.
Hookah smoking is up. Eighth grader use increased from 2.2 percent in 2008 to 3.9 percent in 2009. Eleventh grader use went from 7.9 percent to 10.8 percent in the same period. The flavored tobacco, which comes in fruity flavors such as mango, piña colada and strawberry daiquiri are marketed toward young people, state health officials say.
Among adult males, smokeless tobacco products use also appeared to be on the rise between 2008 and 2009. Some counties had statistically higher incidences of the combination of tobacco-related cancers and mortality from those cancers between 2002 and 2007 including Multnomah, Columbia, Coos, Curry, Josephine and Linn counties. About 7,000 Oregonians die each year from tobacco-related deaths, with cancers causing about 28 percent of them.
Public health officials cite efforts of the Tobacco Prevention & Education Program to create awareness of the dangers of tobacco use and establish programs to help people overcome their addictions. In addition, they say the state’s Smokefree Workplace Law of 2009 had a positive impact.
State epidemiologist Katrina Hedberg says the report’s data are positive, but prevention “continues to be an uphill battle.”
“We’re in this for the long haul,” Hedberg says. “It’s taken us 15 years to see this decline. It’s clear we aren’t there yet.”