The rate of people who smoke cigarettes in Amarillo remains higher than the national rate, reports The Amarillo Globe-News. The city is home to almost 32,000 smokers, and collectively, they cost the city over $2 million annually.
Since 2001, the group Tobacco Free Amarillo has been working with Northwest Texas Hospital to try to eradicate smoking in the city. Despite their efforts, according to Tobacco Free Amarillo executive director Meg Williams, this year for the first time lung cancer is projected to be the most diagnosed type of new cancer in Potter and Randall counties. She added that one in three cancer deaths in the U.S. would never occur if no one smokes.
But things are improving in Amarillo. Since TFA began their program in 2001, the rate of high school seniors who smoke has dropped by 72 percent. That number now stands 13 percent lower than the national average.