Number of smokers down in Yuma County

Yuma Sun
Stephanie A. Wilken – Sept. 24
To view the article online, click here

There’s a little less smoke in Yuma County — at least the kind produced from cigarettes. Yuma County’s tobacco prevalence — the percentage of people who smoke cigarettes — is half of the national average, according to national study.

According to a news release from Yuma County Friday, the tobacco prevalence in Yuma County is less than 10 percent.

The state of Arizona is at 16 percent and the nationwide average is about 20 percent.

And Wayne Tormala, bureau chief for the Arizona Department of Health Services, along with Laurie Thomas, who represents the Arizona Smokers’ Helpline, will be in Yuma Oct. 7 to congratulate Yuma County Health Program Manager Diana Gomez and the tobacco program staff for their work in the community.

”There’s no one answer as to why we have lower smoking rates in Arizona,” Tormala said. “And no singular reason Yuma County is lower than the rest of the state.

“We have a good anti-tobacco program in Arizona and there are many contributing factors we will discuss Oct. 7.”

In addition to the ceremony, a successful quitter from Yuma, who smoked for more than 40 years, will talk about his or her experience.

According to the release, more men smoke than women — but in Yuma County that’s not the case: Here, more women smoke than men.

In 2009, 55.2 percent of smokers in Arizona were men, with 44.1 percent of the smokers women. That means 44.8 percent of the smokers in Arizona are women and 55.9 percent of the smokers in Yuma County are women.

When asked “How many of the past 30 days did you smoke cigarettes?,” Yuma County residents answered 77.7 percent, while statewide, the response was 72.5 percent.

But it’s still good news for those who work toward helping people quit.

And more people in Yuma are seriously considering quitting smoking in the next six months than throughout Arizona.

That statistic comes from 70.6 percent of people surveyed in Yuma County saying they’re seriously considering quitting versus 63.7 percent of the people surveyed statewide.

More than 200 Yuma County residents utilized the Arizona Smokers’ Helpline last year.

“But since we know that there is a greater ‘readiness to quit’ in Yuma, we want to make sure people are aware of the ASHLine’s free services and how to access them,” according to the report.

If you’re interested in quitting, you can reach the Arizona hot line by visiting or call 1-800-55-66-222.

Stephanie A. Wilken can be reached at or 539-6857.

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