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Oklahoma smoking rate reaches historic low

Fewer Oklahomans light up now but the state smoking average of 23.7 percent is still higher than the national average of 20.6 percent
BY SONYA COLBERG Published: October 12, 2011

However, the state's new smoking average is about 3 percent higher than the national average of 20.6 percent.

“We have a long way to go,” Strader said. “We know the formula. We know what needs to be done and we need to keep applying pressure. We've had to go about this one community, one business and one school at a time. But we've been building momentum with each passing year.”

If Oklahoma could achieve the same rate as the national average, another 100,000 Oklahomans could live healthier, smoke-free lives, Cline said.

“Smoking is the number one preventable cause of death in Oklahoma,” he said. “So this is going to translate to improved quality of life for many Oklahomans.”

About 5,800 Oklahomans die yearly as a result of smoking. Survey results on youth tobacco use will be released later, a state Health Department spokeswoman said.