Tobacco use continues to be the leading cause of preventable death in Vermont, claiming the lives of 800 Vermont residents every year. Each year, 400 children in this state become addicted to deadly tobacco products. Tobacco use is a primary driver of healthcare costs, creating a significant burden on the economy.
The following charts show current and past smoking rates among youth and adults. As these charts demonstrate, youth and adult smoking rates in Vermont have declined significantly in the last fifteen years. These successes can be attributed to Vermont’s comprehensive tobacco control program and the implementation of tobacco control policies.
Youth Smoking Prevalence
Adult Smoking Prevalence
Even though overall smoking rates have declined, certain populations are affected by tobacco use more than others. Individuals with lower socio-economic status and those with mental health and co-occurring substance abuse issues are disproportionately affected by tobacco use and have the highest rates of smoking in Vermont.
*Note: All data are from 2010 BRFSS with the exception of GLBTQ (2005 BRFSS) and pregnant women (2008 birth certificates)
Vermont’s Tobacco Control Program implemented the Bridging the Gap Program to address these disparities. Three areas of emphasis were chosen:
- Building Internal Capacity – Education and training were identified as critical components to being able to understand and address the complex systems, policies and pressures that disparate populations must navigate on a daily basis.
- Creating and Enhancing Partnerships – Partnerships are key to the integration of cessation and prevention information into existing systems as well as the sharing of knowledge about the audience and how they interact with public health organizations.
- Implementing and Enhancing Services – Increased awareness of the numerous issues affecting disparate populations will call for additional service offerings as well as services that best fit the needs and lifestyle of the particular population.
To find out more about the Bridging the Gap plan or the Tobacco Control Program, contact the Vermont Department of Health http://healthvermont.gov/prevent/tobacco.s