Falling rates of tobacco use in Oregon have helped cut the yearly number of cigarettes sold there by 3.4 billion, meaning that today’s Oregonians smoke a little more than half as much as they did in 1996, according to the State Department of Human Services.
The department also said 91 percent of Oregon households were smoke-free zones, linking this and other measurements of smoking’s decline in the state to a 2.7 percent decline in new tobacco-related cancer cases.
According to DHS, such illnesses cost the state, directly and indirectly, about $2.4 billion per year. Roughly $1 billion of that figure is seen in healthcare spending, while the rest represents lost work hours and other opportunity costs.
State epidemiologist Dr. Katrina Hedberg said efforts to further decrease tobacco use would be ongoing.
“Local tobacco control efforts are absolutely critical to helping people stop using tobacco
or preventing them from picking up the cigarettes in the first place. We will continue offering a wide variety of resources so people can get the information and help they need,” she said.
Beyond the health effects of cigarette smoking, the habit can drastically increase life insurance premiums.