Congratulations, Oklahoma! Why Your Record Low Smoking Rate Matters
Great news for Oklahoma: The state just recorded its lowest-ever smoking rate! The Centers for Disease Control found that Oklahoma reduced its smoking rate from 22.1% of their population in 2015 to 19.6% in 2016. In terms of numbers, that’s 72,000 fewer smokers in Oklahoma.
Oklahoma has long been one of the states with the highest smoking rates. A year ago, they ranked 45th. But with this latest update, they improved by 9 spots, now ranking 39th. State officials have reported this is an improvement rate over 10 times faster than comparable states.
It’s obvious why this is good news for Oklahoma. It’s no secret that smoking decreases life expectancy. Smoking doesn’t just increase risks of lung cancer or heart disease—it affects almost all of our organs and compromises our overall health. You can review a thorough list of the health effects from smoking on the CDC website.
There is also serious ROI data on the financial impact of smoking cessation programs: Smokers can incur $1600 more per year in health care costs than non-smokers.
Behavior change matters
At WCS, we help our clients measure progress every day—and we believe that wellness depends on healthy behavior change. That’s why we’re excited about Oklahoma—not because they’ve soared to number one, but because they’ve made impressive and meaningful progress.
Behavior change isn’t just as simple as snapping your fingers. And in fact, we strongly believe that behavior change requires environmental health—which includes supportive professional and personal relationships and the right conditions in places that we live. Since good health habits are contagious, the accelerating number of people in Oklahoma who have quit smoking means that positive trend is likely to continue.