13 states found to have elevated smoking levels, health care disparities


Thirteen states, dubbed “Tobacco Nation,” have smoking rates that top the rest of the United States, and their residents face greater health challenges, a new study by Truth Initiative concludes.

Within these 13 states – Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia – the adult smoking rate is 6 percent higher than the average in other states, 21 percent vs. 15 percent, according to the study released Thursday by Truth Initiative, a public health organization.

The states that make up Tobacco Nation have shown little in the way of reductions in tobacco use, unlike the rest of the nation, according to the study, and Tobacco Nation residents have less access to health care.

The 71 million residents of the 13 states smoke more, have shorter life expectancies, have access to fewer physicians per capita and have fewer public policies in place aimed at tobacco prevention, the study found. And the cost of cigarettes in Tobacco Nation is 19 percent cheaper than in the rest of the nation, according to the Truth Initiative study. 

In addition, smokers in Tobacco Nation go through 59.2 packs annually per capita, while smokers in the rest of the nation smoke 32.1 packs, the analysis concludes.

And average life expectancy is 76.3 years in the 13 states vs. 79.3 years in the other 37 states.

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Cigarette Smoking Rates in 2017

Age GroupTobacco NationRest of U.S.
Youth (12 to 17 Years)10%6%
Young Adults (18 to 24 Years)17%11%
Adults (18 and Over)21%15%
Source: Truth Initiative

 

Organizations in this Story

Truth Initiative-Inspiring Tobacco-Free Lives

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