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State Tobacco Control a Mixed Bag
Date:6/12/2009

ure to secondhand smoke from the early 1990s to 2007.

  • The number of smokers has dropped, from 24.5 percent to 18.5 percent.
  • The percentage of people living in a home where smoking is not allowed inside increased, from 43 percent to 79.1 percent.
  • The percentage of smoke-free workplaces has increased, from 46 percent to 75 percent.

Data in the report came from different sources, including the Tobacco Use Supplement to the Current Population Survey, the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System and the ImpacTeen State Legislative database. The ImpacTeen State Level Tobacco Control Policy and Prevalence Database

An earlier study supports the idea that states with strong tobacco-control programs can make a significant dent in smoking. According to a March report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 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.

For example, 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.

Dr. Norman H. Edelman, a scientific consultant to the American Lung Association, thinks that while the number of smokers has gone down, attention needs to be paid to young adults and teens.

"Clearly we have made progress in reducing smoking," Edelman said. "But we seem to be coming down to a hardcore smoker -- a young adult or teenager, poorly educated and from a low socioeconomic status -- and that's problematic. We need to focus more on those groups."

More information

For more information on smoking, visit the U.S. National Institutes of Health.



SOURCES: Gary G. Giovino, Ph.D.
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