Oklahoma facing health problems despite smoking decrease

BY ASSOCIATED PRESS
06/09/2018 02:00 PM
TULSA (AP) – Oklahoma has high rates of death from heart disease, stroke, cancer and respiratory disease despite a decrease in smoking, according to a new report.

Less than 20 percent of Oklahoma adults smoke, down from 25 percent a decade ago, according to the State of the State’s Health Report that was released Monday, The Tulsa World reported . The teen smoking rate was 13 percent in 2015, down from about a third of teens smoking in 2005.

However, the state still has a high rate of health issues tied with smoking, such as lung cancer and heart disease, the report found.

The effects of smoking aren’t automatically reversed by quitting, said Leanne Stephens, a spokeswoman for the Tulsa Health Department. She said that according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, cancer risks can be cut in half within five years of quitting and the risk of a stroke could be reduced to that of a nonsmoker within two to five years.

Increasing rates of obesity may also be contributing to high rates of heart disease, the report said. The state has seen its obesity rate more than double since the 1990s, the report found.

About a third of adults in Oklahoma and 20 percent of adolescents are overweight, the report said. Obesity also likely contributes to the state’s high rate of diabetes, with 12 percent of the population with the disease.

“The prevention of obesity is a complex problem and requires a multi-faceted approach,” Stephens said. “There are many factors that contribute to obesity rates, including poor diet and inactivity.”

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