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Virginia Health Officials Release Adult Tobacco Use Survey Results

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 Virginia Department of Health Press Release:

(Richmond, Va.) – The Virginia Department of Health has released results from the 2016-2017 Virginia Adult Tobacco Survey.

Conducted in 2016-2017, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) Tobacco Control Program (TCP) launched the first Virginia Adult Tobacco Survey (VATS) to guide the state’s tobacco control activities.

VATS assessed tobacco use as well as attitudes and opinions on tobacco such as perception of harm, tobacco taxation, smoke free air and users’ desire to quit. The use of menthol and other tobacco products such as pipes, hookahs and Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (commonly known as e-cigarettes) were also assessed.

The survey contains data specific to Virginia and provides information by region, race and ethnicity, education, income and age.

Results show Northern Virginia has the lowest smoking rates, Asians smoke the least in Virginia, and smoking rates decrease as education and/or income increases. More than 86 percent of Virginians do not smoke according to the survey.

The desire to quit is strongly expressed by the majority of all smokers, though the inability to do so demonstrates the strength of nicotine addiction.

According to Jayne Flowers, Office of Family Health Services Tobacco Control Program Manager, “VATS gives us an in-depth look into who is still using tobacco. Having data on who, where and which tobacco products are being used helps us shape the efforts of the program and reach the people most in need of quitting.”

“Knowing the current opinions and attitudes toward smoking and electronic tobacco products should be very useful to policy makers in Virginia,” said State Health Commissioner M. Norman Oliver, MD, MA. “We know the majority of tobacco users would like to quit and most Virginians support healthy policies such as clean indoor air laws.”

The Tobacco Control Program offers QuitNow Virginia, a quitline for tobacco users that provides Virginians free access to cessation coaching, personal quit plans, educational materials and TEXT2QUIT. Register at QuitNow.net/Virginia or call 1-800-Quit-Now to get started.

The VATS 2016-2017 Report, Infographic and Snapshot are available to download at VDH.virginia.gov/tobacco-free-living/.