Health Dept. says Oklahoma smoking rate declining

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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - The state Department of Health says the number of Oklahomans who smoke has dropped to an historic low for the state.

The agency says 23.3 percent of Oklahomans smoked in 2012, down from 26.1 percent in 2011. Oklahoma now ranks 39th among all states for adult smoking, a significant improvement from the previous ranking of 47th.

Health officials say there were an estimated 75,000 fewer adult smokers in 2012 than 2011. The percentage of Oklahomans who have never smoked increased from 49.2 percent in 2011 to 52.4 percent in 2012, or an increase of about 100,000 people. And the percentage of Oklahomans who smoke every day decreased from 19.9 percent in 2011 to 17 percent in 2012.

The Health Department says smoking is Oklahoma's leading preventable cause of death.

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