Still Too Many People Smoking, Says CDC

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By: Kristin Lund

Differences in the way tobacco is marketed and promoted and differences in tobacco control programs are some of the reasons why more than twice as many adults smoke in some states as in others, according to a recent Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

The 2007 survey, which included 430,912 respondents, found that adult smoking rates varied from 31.1 percent to 8.7 percent among the 50 states, the three U.S. territories, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. In Utah and the Virgin Islands, only 12 percent of the adult population smoke, and in California, only 14 percent smoke. In West Virginia, however, 27 percent of adults are still puffing. 

Puerto Rico had the lowest percentage of smokers-just under 9 percent.

Kentucky, where 28 percent of adults smoke, is the most tobacco-dependent state in the United States. North Carolina grows more tobacco than Kentucky, but tobacco accounts for a larger percentage of Kentucky’s agricultural income, according to a University of Kentucky report.

Men had significantly higher smoking rates than women, the report found. The median smoking rates for men in 30 states, the District of Columbia, and all three territories) was 15 percent to 29 percent. For women, it was 8 percent to 28 percent.

The federal government has a Healthy People 2010 goal of reducing adult smoking rates to 12 percent or less by 2010. Of the 50 states, only Utah has thus far achieved that goal. But the authors of the CDC report said that it might be possible to meet the 2010 goal if all states immediately put into place far-reaching evidence-based tobacco control programs, such as more access to smoking cessation services.

You’d think the recession might make people re-think spending their money on cigarettes, but a Georgia State University tobacco expert predicts that the recession will probably do nothing to reduce tobacco use, reports says a recent Health News Today article.

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