Market Overview

Pennsylvania Rate of Adult Smokers Higher Than National Average


Philadelphia, PA, Nov. 19, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Despite an all-time national low adult smoking rate of around 15 percent, Pennsylvania's rate of smokers continues to nudge close to 19 percent.Ranking 17th out of 20 states with the highest smoking rate, Pennsylvania is the most populated state.2 Tobacco use claims 480,000 lives each year, including 22,000 Pennsylvanians.3  This year was also marked by 2,172 cases of e-cigarette, or vaping, product use associated lung injury and 42 deaths across the country.4 Yet, quitting tobacco is no small feat; most smokers make multiple attempts before kicking the habit for good. The Southeastern Pennsylvania Tobacco Control Project, an extension of the Philadelphia-based Health Promotion Council, wants to help people take the steps to quit during the Great American Smokeout® on November 21 and beyond. 

This year marks the 44th year of the Great American Smokeout®, a national initiative of the American Cancer Society. Research shows that people who smoke are most successful in their efforts to stop smoking when they have at least two of the following supports in place, such as: telephone quitlines, Nicotine Anonymous meetings, self-help books and materials, smoking counselors or coaches, and encouragement and support from friends and family members."The Great American Smokeout provides an opportunity to help people take the first step to coming up with a plan to quit. We want to let the public know that we are here to help," said Sean McCormick, Assistant Director, Tobacco Control and Prevention Services, Health Promotion Council. 

Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States, accounting for 29% of all cancer deathsIn fact, smoking cigarettes kills more Americans than alcohol, car accidents, HIV, guns, and illegal drugs combined. Smoking not only causes cancer. It damages nearly every organ in the body, including the lungs, heart, blood vessels, reproductive organs, mouth, skin, eyes, and bones.6 Investing in prevention, 18 states and 500 localities across the country have raised the age of purchase for tobacco products to 21.7  In September, the Pennsylvania Senate voted to raise the minimum age for tobacco purchases to 21—it is now with the House for deliberation.

Each year, approximately 20 million American smokers try to quit, representing more than half of the 37.8 million smokers in the U.S. Only about 1.4 million (7%) succeed. An even greater percentage of smokers (68%) report being interested in quitting.9  Jamie Magee, Director, Tobacco Prevention and Control Services, states that "the Great American Smokeout provides us another meaningful opportunity to connect with people that want to quit smoking. We all can help spread the word that support is available and encourage people that are trying to quit." 

More information and resources are available at or by calling 1-800-QUITNOW. 


About the Health Promotion Council/Southeastern Pennsylvania Tobacco Control Project 

Health Promotion Council, an affiliate of the Public Health Management Corporation, addresses chronic disease prevention and management through direct service, capacity-building, and policy- and systems- change initiatives. The Southeastern Pennsylvania Tobacco Control Project (SEPA TCP) is funded by the Pennsylvania Department of Health and is operated by the Health Promotion Council, an affiliate of Public Health Management Corporation. SEPA TCP provides technical assistance/training in areas of advocacy, community engagement, and clinical integration of tobacco treatment services. It also provides fiscal oversight and management of regional tobacco funds. 










Julia Mallory
Health Promotion Council, SEPA Tobacco Control Project
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