OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma Department of Health says the percentage of adults who smoke in the state is the lowest ever recorded.

The health agency said Thursday the Centers for Disease Control found the rate of adults who smoke dropped from 22.1 percent in 2015 to 19.6 percent in 2016. The report also indicates obesity rates among adults in Oklahoma dropped for the first time since 2011.

The lower rate of smokers means the number of adult smokers fell by almost 72,000 from 2015 to 2016. The decline moved the state’s national ranking to 36th, an improvement of nine spots over the previous year.

Oklahoma’s adult smoking rate remains above the national average of 17.1 percent. State health commissioner Dr. Terry Cline says more than 88,000 Oklahomans will die prematurely from smoking.

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