Tobacco use rates decrease once again in King County

A new Data Watch Report about tobacco use in King County shows that the number of adults using tobacco has declined.

According to the report, an estimated 155,000 King County adults smoke, while another 26,000 use smokeless tobacco.

Despite the decline overall, tobacco still accounts for one in five deaths in King County every year, as well as $343 million annually in expenses and lost wages.

The report found that after tobacco use dropped by 50 percent from 1996 to 2007, use has stayed the same for the last five years.

More than 15,000 students, including one in four 12th-graders, have smoked cigarettes or used another type of tobacco product in the last month.

According to the Data Watch Report, adult smoking rates are highest among African-Americans, low-income residents and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual groups.

Youth smoking rates are highest among American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander and Latino youth.

Youth are also more likely, the study found, to use alternative tobacco products such as chewing tobacco, snuff, dip, cigars and little cigars, some of which are flavored to taste like fruit.

The city of Mercer Island discussed a possible ordinance in April that would ban smoking from public parks, but as of yet has not voted one way or the other. The city of Seattle bans smoking in parks, while King County has also considered the topic.

To learn more, visit the Seattle King County Public Health website at


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