Smoking Rates Up In Wicomico County - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Smoking Rates Up In Wicomico County

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WICOMICO CO., Md. - It's a habit for 45 million Americans, and the leading cause of preventable death: smoking.

And in Wicomico county, the rate of adults who do it is alarmingly high.

"I guess I'm addicted to having a cigarette in my hand all the time," Brock Brooks said.

He's just one of 17,000 adult smokers in Wicomico County. That's enough to fill the Wicomico Youth and Civic Center nearly three times.

"Here in Wicomico County we have about 22 percent of adult smokers, where the state is 15 percent," said Jennifer Johnson with the Wicomico County Health Department.

That makes Maryland the eleventh highest state among smoking adults.

But the question remains: why?

"With the economy or whatever stressors you have on you, that's what the go-to is, and why they rely on it," Johnson said. "It's hard to give that up."

There are smoking alternatives, but only 1.5 percent of adults in the county use smokeless tobacco. And some vendors in the Salisbury area tell us electronic cigarettes are gaining popularity with college students.
     
"They're made by tobacco companies so they want to continue to make money," Johnson said. "They're trying to keep people addicted in buildings until they can go outside and have a regular cigarette."

Contrary to what some might think, the e-cigarette is less of a quitting tool and more of a smoking supplement.

So if you're looking for real help to kick the habit, Johnson says many of the traditional nicotine aids for quitting - like gum and patches - are helpful, but there's a key component needed to keep from relapsing.

"The big, main thing though is they need counseling with it. I think people are afraid of getting help, but you need that positive support of other people that have gone through it," she said. It can be done, but it really does take time."

If you'd like to quit smoking and are interested in the programs offered by the health department, you can contact their office at (410) 334-3480.

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