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Smoking rate in Wisconsin hits all-time low

MADISON — State health officials say fewer Wisconsin adults are smoking than ever before.

Wisconsin Public Radio reports that statistics from the state Department of Health Services show that Wisconsin’s overall smoking rate dropped to 16 percent in 2017. That compares to 21 percent in 2011, but is still higher than the national rate of 14 percent.

The data show that low-income residents and African Americans continue to smoke at much higher rates. The numbers have decreased in recent years, but not as quickly as smoking overall in the state.

Still, anti-smoking advocates say small declines add up. Lorraine Lathen is director of the Wisconsin Tobacco Prevention and Poverty Network. She noted the smoking rate among African-American residents used to be at 31 percent but has fallen to 28 percent.