NEW ORLEANS, La. – (January 12, 2022) – Today, The Louisiana Campaign for Tobacco-Free Living (TFL) and Well-Ahead Louisiana released the 2020 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) data on adult tobacco use in Louisiana.

From 2019 to 2020, the percentage of Louisiana adults who smoke fell from 21.9 percent to 18.3 percent, a nearly four percent drop. Data shows the largest decreases in Louisiana adult smokers without a high school diploma (40.6 percent in 2019, 34.8 percent in 2020), in households earning below $50,000 (28.3 percent in 2019, 23.7 percent in 2020), in households earning below $15,000 (41.1 percent in 2019, 30.2 percent in 2020), Black men (28.1 percent in 2019, 21.4 percent in 2020), Black women (16.9 percent in 2019, 10.9 percent in 2020), and members of the LGBTQ+ community (28.7 percent in 2019, 23.0 percent in 2020). Additional data can be found here under the “Priority Populations” section. 

“We are cautiously optimistic about the 2020 BRFSS data showing a decrease in the number of Louisiana adults who smoke,” said Dr. Earl Benjamin-Robinson, director of TFL. “We know that 2020 was an extremely stressful year for everyone and that cigarette sales increased but more information is needed to assess how stressors like the COVID pandemic and past hurricanes have affected Louisiana’s smoking prevalence. We continue to provide support services for those who want to quit and advocating for smoke-free ordinances to protect Louisianans from secondhand smoke.”

The BRFSS is a collaborative project between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and US states and territories. The survey is conducted each year via telephone and is designed to collect data on health-related risk behaviors, chronic health conditions, and use of preventive services.

“We applaud anyone who wants to quit tobacco in the new year, because we know it’s not easy, but we also know the health benefits are worth it,” said Jabari Sullen, Division Manager, Tobacco Control and Health Policy of Well-Ahead Louisiana, the chronic disease prevention and healthcare access arm of the Louisiana Department of Health. “By taking advantage of Quit With Us, Louisiana’s quit coaches and nicotine replacement therapy, you’ll start off on the right track and have tools to help you quit for good.”

Louisianans interested in quitting tobacco can visit www.QuitWithUsLa.org or call 1-800-Quit-Now to connect with a quit coach and create a personalized Quit Plan. Coaches are available 24/7, seven days a week. Quit With Us, Louisiana also provides counseling services over the phone, via text, through an app, or on the website chatbox. Quit Coaches can also provide cessation medication and make recommendations on what prescription medications participants can review with their doctor. Young adults and individuals seeking to quit vaping can get vaping-specific cessation assistance by texting “VAPEFREE” to 873373.