CDC survey finds cigarette smoking is down. Here's how Arizona compares

By Kirsten Dorman
Published: Thursday, May 4, 2023 - 8:00am
Updated: Thursday, May 4, 2023 - 8:35am

JoAnna Strother poses, smiling with her arms crossed. She is the American Lung Association
American Lung Association
JoAnna Strother

The Centers for Disease Control and Preventio recently released preliminary findings from its 2022 National Health Interview Survey. It found a drop in cigarette smoking. But one in nine adults still light up, and electronic cigarette use is on the rise.

JoAnna Strother is the American Lung Association’s advocacy director in Arizona.

“In fact, smoking rates have come down and when you look at the adult rate in Arizona, which is 13.1,” Strother said. “That, [compared] to nationally which is 12.5%, we are a little bit above the national average.”

She said that fewer adults are smoking, but the new wave of tobacco use is among children and teens using electronic cigarettes.

“Our children are using e-cigarettes,” Strother said. “And they're using them at epidemic rates, and those rates are skyrocketing.”

Arizona bans smoking indoors in public spaces at the state level. But for electronic cigarettes: “We really don't have a statewide policy on that.”

Strother said the American Lung Association is pushing for one to pass in the Legislature.

“Some cities have taken on the measure themselves, places like Tucson and Tempe,” Strother said. “And there’s some other cities that have added it to their local city ordinances.”

Strother also warned against smoking outside, as discarded cigarette butts can pose risk for wildfires.

“In Arizona, where it's a dry, hot climate,” she said, “depending on where people are doing that, it can ignite a wildfire.”

Environment Health + Medicine