Virginia health officials release adult tobacco survey results

RICHMOND, Va. – The Virginia Department of Health released the results of the 2016-2017 Virginia Adult Tobacco Survey.

The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) Tobacco Control Program (TCP) conducted the first Virginia Adult Tobacco Survey (VATS) to construct the state’s tobacco control activities for 2016-2017.

VATS assessed the community’s attitude towards tobacco and tobacco use as well as opinions on the harms of tobacco, tobacco taxation, smoke free air and a users’ desire to quit. The use of menthol and other tobacco products such as pipes, hookahs and Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems, known as e-cigarettes, are also assessed for the best research quality.

The survey provides information by region, race and ethnicity, education, income and age, meaning the survey contains data that is specific to Virginia.

According to results, Northern Virginia has the lowest smoking rates, Asians smoke the least in Virginia and smoking rates decrease as income or education increases.

More than 86 percent of Virginians do not smoke . The majority of smokers strongly expressed the desire to quit, though the inability to do so demonstrates the strength of nicotine addiction.

According to Jayne Flowers, manager of the Office of Family Health Services Tobacco Control Program , “VATS gives us an in-depth look into who is still using tobacco. Having data on who, where and which tobacco products are being used helps us shape the efforts of the program and reach the people most in need of quitting.”

“Knowing the current opinions and attitudes toward smoking and electronic tobacco products should be very useful to policy makers in Virginia,” said State Health Commissioner M. Norman Oliver. “We know the majority of tobacco users would like to quit and most Virginians support healthy policies such as clean indoor air laws.”