Smoking and Tobacco
Smoking is the most preventable cause of disease, disability and death in Missouri. Nearly 10,000 Missourians die every year from tobacco-related illnesses, including lung cancer, heart disease and stroke. More than 1,100 additional deaths are caused by exposure to secondhand smoke every year.
Tobacco use also creates a significant economic burden in Missouri. Approximately $2 billion is spent every year in Missouri to treat smoking-related illnesses.
Although Missouri’s smoking rates are still high, there has been a significant decline in adult smoking from 2011 and 2012. Approximately 22.1 percent of adults and 9.2 percent of high school students in Missouri smoke. Smoking rates are also high among pregnant women in Missouri. Approximately one of every six pregnant women smokes, a rate significantly higher than the national average. Smoking during pregnancy increases the risk for preterm delivery, stillbirth, low birth weight and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
Missouri’s comprehensive tobacco control initiatives include efforts to create community smokefree air laws, youth tobacco use prevention, tobacco cessation assistance, and education and awareness through media.
Missouri offers free help to smokers who want to quit using tobacco. The Missouri Tobacco Quitline provides counseling, information, and referrals. The Quitline number is 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669).
By July 30, 2018, the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will implement a smoke-free policy in all HUD residences and common areas. The policy states:
- Cigarettes and cigars cannot be smoked in buildings on HUD properties, including offices, residences, and common areas, or within 25 feet of any buildings on HUD property.
- Although electronic cigarettes are not required to be included in the policy, management of public housing authorities may also prohibit the use of these products in their facilities.
The Missouri Comprehensive Tobacco Control Program has compiled a toolkit that has useful information for management of public housing authorities as they plan for this new policy.