MILTON — The rate of adult smoking in Santa Rosa County remains higher than the state average, according to the 2017 County Health Rankings & Roadmaps tool released by the University of Wisconsin and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Eighteen percent of Santa Rosa adults are smokers compared to 16 percent of Floridians, according to the foundation’s data seen at http://www.countyhealthrankings.org/#howhealthy.

The Florida Department of Health in Santa Rosa County stated it is working with community partners to reduce the smoking rate. Encouraging businesses and multi-unit housing complexes to adopt “smoke-free” policies is one strategy.

To date, 14 local businesses and six housing complexes have adopted such policies, according to a DOH-Santa Rosa media release. 

The health department, in conjunction with West Florida Area Health Education Centers, offers free cessation classes. Additional resources are available at http://tobaccofreeflorida.com/.

“We were pleased to learn that DOH-Santa Rosa had moved up in the rankings and we want to thank our community partners for their engagement and collaboration,” said Sandra L. Park-O’Hara, DOH-Santa Rosa administrator. “Although we’ve made strides in some areas, we still have work to do in the areas of tobacco use and healthy lifestyles and will continue to work with our community partners on those issues.”