Goals to Lower U.S. Smoking Not Being Met: Report
ATLANTA (Reuters Health) - The percentage of US adults who smoke ranges from about 13% in Utah to about 30% in Kentucky, and only three states have meet federal goals for reducing the number of residents who smoke, according to researchers at the US Cente
Two reports in the December 14th issue of the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report describe state-based statistics for adult smokers and, for the first time, smoking patterns in major metropolitan areas.
In their ``Healthy People 2010'' guidelines, federal officials have set the goal of reducing cigarette smoking among adults to 12% by the year 2010.
The CDC points out that the average number of people who smoked in 2000 was similar to that reported for the preceding 5 years; however, the number of smokers varied from state to state.
For the year 2000, the goal was to reduce cigarette smoking among adults to 15% in every state, but only three states, Puerto Rico, Utah and California, were able to meet that goal.
The 12 states with the highest number of smokers were Kentucky, Nevada, Missouri, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, New Hampshire, Alabama, Arkansas and Alaska, the researchers report.
The CDC also investigated the percentages of smokers in 99 metropolitan areas across the US. Similarly to the state-based figures, they ranged from 13% to 31%. Toledo, Ohio had the highest percentage of adult smokers and Orange County (Los Angeles), California had the lowest, they found.
According to the CDC, the findings indicate support for smoking bans, with ``nearly universal support for bans in schools and day care centers and strong support for bans in indoor work areas and restaurants.''
Just over 60% of adults reported a smoke-free office in Mississippi compared to nearly 84% of adults in Montana, the CDC notes.
``The low prevalence of smokers in California, Utah and Puerto Rico may be a result of stronger social and cultural norms against tobacco use compared with other parts of the country,'' the CDC's Dr. Terry Pechacek said during a telephone press conference.
``We have seen variances with states, but they have been stable from year to year, suggesting that there are broad cultural and social differences,'' he told Reuters Health. Utah, for example, has religious and social traditions that may influence smoking, he explained.
According to Pechacek, some states have stronger anti-smoking policies than others. ``We are encouraging all states to look at their trends and smoking within their own state, and where the rates of smoking rates are high. We see that as an opportunity to apply the strategies that we know have worked for other states, such as California.''