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Arizona Smoking Rate Hits Historic Low

cigarette butt
(Photo by graphicstock.com)

Smoking in Arizona is continuing to decline. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said smoking in the state has dropped to a historic low of 14 percent. Arizona Health Services Department Director Cara Christ said her department puts a lot of time, energy and resources into trying to keep people from smoking.

“Tobacco control is one of the state’s highest health priorities, because of the health impacts that it has,” Christ said. “It impacts the state’s cancer rates. It impacts heart disease. It impacts cardiovascular disease, and stroke.”

This latest decrease adds to up to 200,000 Arizona adults who have quit smoking in the last five years, Christ said. She credits the Arizona Smoker’s Hotline, which provides resources for quitting the habit, as well as youth smoking prevention education.

When senior field correspondent Stina Sieg was 22, she moved to the desert. She hasn’t been the same since. At the time, the Northern California native had just graduated from college and was hankering for wide-open spaces. So she took a leap and wrote to nearly every newspaper in New Mexico until one offered her a job. That’s how she became the photographer for a daily paper in the small town of Silver City. And that’s when she realized how much she loved storytelling. In the years since, the beauty of having people open up and share their stories — and trust her to tell them — has never gotten old to Sieg. Before coming to KJZZ, Sieg was also a writer and photographer at newspapers in Glenwood Springs, Colorado; Moab, Utah; and the Smoky Mountains town of Waynesville, North Carolina. She always had her hand in public radio, too, including hosting Morning Edition on a fill-in basis at WNCW in North Carolina. It’s still the best music station she’s found. When she’s not reporting, chances are Sieg is running, baking, knitting or driving to some far-flung town deep in the desert — just to see what it looks like.