New Report IDs 12 States With Smoking Rates 50 Percent Higher Than the Rest of the Country

In HealthDay News
by Healthday

28 percent of smokers live in these 12 states, even though they comprise only 21 percent of the U.S. population

By Physician’s Briefing Staff HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, July 5, 2023 (HealthDay News) — Despite overall national declines in smoking, Americans who live in the South and Midwest are still much more likely to smoke, and smoke more, than those living in other states, a new report shows.

A nonprofit nonsmoking advocacy group has identified what it calls “Tobacco Nation,” areas of the South and Midwest where smoking is 50 percent more common than in other states. Truth Initiative revealed that those states are Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and West Virginia.

“Due in part to policies that favor the tobacco industry over public health, residents of ‘Tobacco Nation’ are too often suffering from shorter life expectancy, worse indicators of health, and high prevalence of tobacco use,” Barbara Schillo, chief research officer at Truth Initiative, said in a statement.

Truth Initiative shared some hard numbers, including that about 28 percent of smokers live in these 12 states, even though they comprise only 21 percent of the U.S. population. About 19 percent of adults smoke in these regions compared with 13 percent in other states. Young adults were similarly affected, with 11 percent of adults younger than 25 years smoking compared with 8 percent in other states. Teens were also more likely to smoke.

Truth Initiative also found that the people in those states who smoke tend to light up more than smokers in other states, using about 53 packs in a year, on average. In other parts of the country, the average is 29 packs a year. In turn, life expectancy is lower in these states by about three years, at age 76 years.

Truth Initiative blames the numbers on weaker local policy on tobacco prevention and cessation. Industry influence and lack of political will by those who govern are among other reasons why.

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