NM Adult Smoking Rate Drops

New Mexico – The state Department of Health says fewer New Mexican adults are smokers.

A recent Department of Health survey shows New Mexico's adult smoking rate has dropped to 19 percent for 2008 from 24 percent in 2001.

It's the lowest rate since 2001 and represents 66,600 fewer smokers.

Health Secretary Alfredo Vigil calls the decrease a tremendous accomplishment for those who quit smoking.

The department estimates the reduction in smokers means New Mexicans will save about $160 million in health care costs.

The Department provides help to anyone who wants to quit tobacco through 1-800-QUIT NOW, a free help line.

The telephone service provides nicotine patches or gum, a free quit plan and free sessions with a trained coach to participants.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.