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DES MOINES, Iowa -- Iowans are smoking nearly 250 million packs of cigarettes annually, representing a 6 percent decline over the past 11 years, the Iowa Register reported.
Tax records show that 249.8 million packs of cigarettes were sold in Iowa during the fiscal year ending June 30, 2001. That compares with 253 million packs sold a year earlier. In 1990, Iowans bought 266 million packs of cigarettes.
While sales of cigarettes have declined, tax records showed a dramatic sales increase in the 1990s in a general category of tobacco products that included cigars, roll-your-own tobacco and smokeless tobacco, said Dale Thede, excise tax program manager for the Iowa Department of Revenue and Finance.
Twenty-three percent of adult Iowans smoke cigarettes, according to the Iowa Department of Public Health. A separate survey last year showed that 33 percent of Iowa high school students had smoked cigarettes at least once in the past 30 days.
The state has taken steps to reduce smoking over the past year. State officials have launched a campaign to enforce laws that prohibit the sale of cigarettes to people under 18.
Preliminary statistics from recent checks of Iowa businesses have shown the compliance rate is 88 percent, a major improvement from past years, said Lynn Walding, an administrator who oversees the state's program.