Use of loose tobacco on the rise in the wake of cigarette taxes

August 02, 2012

The Centers for Disease Control says total cigarette consumption in the U.S. was down 2.5 percent from 2010 to 2011. KJZZ’s Al Macias reports says smokers are turning to other kinds of tobacco.

AL MACIAS: Smokers are finding alternatives to commercially rolled cigarettes. The CDC says consumption of pipe tobacco was up 482 percent over the last decade, much of that is being used by smokers rolling their own cigarettes. The federal tax on loose tobaccos is lower than the tax on cigarettes. Here in Arizona, state health officials say they are focusing their efforts on another kind of tobacco.

WAYNE TORMALA:  Chew. Arizona is really on par with the rest of the nation.

MACIAS: That’s Wayne Tormala with the Arizona Department of Health Services. He says their figures show about three percent of Arizonans use smokeless tobacco, but he says it’s a bigger problems in rural areas.

TORMALA: In the north and northeastern parts of the state, Coconino, Apache and Navajo counties the  rate is double or triple the state average.

MACIAS: Tormala says there is good news; Arizona saw an 11 percent drop among teen smokers over the last two years. That was the largest decrease of any state in the country.

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