Study: 2/3 of Mo. smokers want to quit in 6 months

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — A Missouri health department study shows that nearly two-thirds of smokers want to quit in the next six months, with nearly 80 percent believing that they can stop at some point.

The Department of Health and Senior Services' study, made public Monday, found that smokers in Lincoln County just outside St. Louis had the strongest desire to quit in six months. Eighty percent have set that goal.

By contrast, only about 40 percent in central Missouri's Linn County wanted to stop smoking in six months.

By region, smokers in the St. Louis metro area had the strongest desire to quit within six months, while those in northwestern Missouri had the lowest desire to quit the habit in that span.

The survey found that 23 percent of respondents statewide are smokers and 25 percent had smoked.

Among Missouri's 114 counties, Taney County, where Branson is located, had the highest percentage of smokers at more than 36 percent. Nodaway County, in Missouri's northwest corner, had the lowest percentage at 14 percent.

But by region, southeastern Missouri had the highest concentration of smokers, while the St. Louis metro area had the lowest.

The data from the health department study were weighted to be representative of the state's adult, non-institutionalized population based on the 2000 U.S. Census.

The results were based on 49,513 interviews with adults statewide between February 2007 and April 2008. The study was funded by a $1.5 million grant from the Missouri Foundation for Health and $100,000 from the federal government.

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