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Oklahoma sees historic shift in smoking rate

Oklahoma's ranking of adults who smoke decreased, moving from No. 47 to 2011 to No. 39 in 2012.
by Jaclyn Cosgrove Published: August 26, 2013
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Terry Cline already had his presentation ready.

He was prepared to tell a group of first-year medical students on Monday that Oklahoma's smoking rate and ranking had gotten worse.

And then — they didn't.

Cline and other health officials had anticipated the data from a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey would show Oklahoma's smoking rates had worsened.

Instead, Oklahoma's ranking of adults who smoke decreased, moving Oklahoma's ranking nationwide from No. 47 to 2011 to No. 39 in 2012.

“This morning, it was a reminder as I looked at that presentation, we actually were expecting those numbers to go up,” he said. “... I had forgotten we had plotted that as projected to go in the opposite direction. It was absolutely good news. It's good news for Oklahoma.”

In 2011, 26 percent of adults in Oklahoma were current smokers. That number decreased to 23 percent in 2012, according to the data collected through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Whenever there's a shift in data, it's important to understand whether it's the result of how data is collected. On Friday, officials agreed that the change in ranking is somewhat attributable to a more accurate pool of data.

The No. 39 ranking and the percentage data came from data collected through the CDC's Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, a system of health-related telephone surveys that collect state data from residents about certain behaviors and health conditions.

In 2011, people who only have cellphones were included in the survey pool for the first time.

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by Jaclyn Cosgrove
Medical and Health Reporter
Jaclyn Cosgrove writes about health, public policy and medicine in Oklahoma, among other topics. She is an Oklahoma State University graduate. Jaclyn grew up in the southeast region of the state and enjoys writing about rural Oklahoma. She is...
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