Smoking Isn't Falling as Fast as Officials Hoped: Report

March 12 (HealthDay News) -- Differences in tobacco marketing and promotion and tobacco-control programs are among the reasons why adult smoking rates are almost twofold higher in some states than others, according to a new report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

About 28 percent of adults in Kentucky smoke, and 27 percent in West Virginia, compared with 14 percent of adults in California and 12 percent in Utah, the report found.

Rates of decline in adult smoking will probably be too slow in almost all states, other than Utah, to achieve the federal government's Healthy People 2010 goal of reducing adult smoking rates to 12 percent or less, the report stated. But the authors said that it might be possible to meet that objective if all states implement comprehensive, evidence-based tobacco-control programs, including expanded access to smoking cessation services, such as quit phone lines.

The findings are published in the March 13 issue of the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

The analysis of data from the 2007 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System found that adult smoking rates varied from 31.1 percent to 8.7 percent among the 50 states, District of Columbia and the territories of Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Only Utah and the Virgin Islands met the goal of 12 percent or less.

In 2007, nearly 20 percent of adults in the United States were smokers. Among states and the District of Columbia, smoking rates were highest in Kentucky, West Virginia and Oklahoma (26 percent) and lowest in Utah, California and Connecticut (15.5 percent). The smoking rate was 31 percent in Guam, 12 percent in the U.S. Virgin Islands and 9 percent in Puerto Rico.

Median smoking rates ranged from 15 percent to 29 percent for men and 8 to 28 percent for women. In 30 states, the District of Columbia and all three territories, men had significantly higher smoking rates than women, the report found.

Between 1998 and 2007, smoking rates declined in 44 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, but there were no declines in six states.

The 2007 survey included 430,912 respondents.

Cigarette smoking in the United States causes about 443,000 premature deaths and is responsible for $193 billion in direct health-care costs and productivity losses each year, the CDC said. According to the Institute of Medicine, full implementation of comprehensive, evidence-based tobacco-control programs at CDC-recommended funding levels are needed to achieve major reductions in tobacco use in all states and areas.


SOURCE: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, news release, March 12, 2009

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