IDAHO FALLS, Idaho - New federal smoking data shows a decrease in the percentage of people smoking in eastern Idaho counties. The data shows from 1996 to 2012 smoking rates in Bonneville County decreased from 19 to 16 percent. If you would like to see the data click here: http://www.pophealthmetrics.com/content/12/1/5.
Smoking cessation coordinator for the eastern Idaho Public Health District, Mimi Taylor, said there are reasons for the gradual decline.
"As tobacco tax increases happen across the county it just makes smoking very prohibitive especially for teens. There is a lot more education on national, regional and local levels talking about the dangers of smoking," she said.
Taylor said the health district pushes education at an early age. She said if people are smoke-free by the age of 18, they have a better chance of not smoking at all.
Michael Parker lives in Idaho Falls and had his first smoke at age 7.
"I couldn't breathe, I couldn't get any air. I finally got some breath in my lungs and said that was it. When a cigarette almost kills you, it's time to give it up," Parker said.
Parker tried using e-cigarettes to stop him from lighting up.
"I think that is the worst thing people can go for is those vapor cigarettes; it leaves you wanting more and the next thing you know you're picking up a cigarette," he said.
Joshua Olds also tried using e-cigarettes to quit, but the didn't work for him. Now he uses nicotine gum.
"Physically my body feels a lot better. I can actually wake up in the morning and breathe," said Olds.
He also credits his fiancee and soon to be step-daughter for his recovery. If you want to quit smoking, resources are available through the health district. Click here for more information, http://www.phd7.idaho.gov/Health%20Promotion/Tobacco/tobaccomain.html.