Generally in the USA smoking rates are decreasing and this may be driven by just several counties with big populations or are part of larger cities. Recently the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington conducted a study in which participated 5 million smokers in counties across the U.S. There were established rates of regular smokers, and those who have smoked from time to time from 1996 to 2012.
The results of the study were published in the journal Population Health Metrics. It revealed that most smoking rates for those who have smoked from time to time have declined in past 10 years.
Rates among males dropped from 27.3% to 22.2% and females from 22.2% to 17.9%. The majority of males who demonstrated significant declines lived in 1,244 of the 3,127 counties studied while two-thirds of females lived in just 507 counties with significant drops.
Researchers told that these counties are found near big cities, where clean air legislation is applied (smoking ban in bars and buildings). In 2012 the city with the lowest rate of regular smokers was Falls Church City, Va., a suburb of Washington, D.C., where daily smoking rate for males and females dropped to 5.4% from 14% in 1996. Utah County in Utah had a 5.8% daily smoking rate in 2012 in comparison with 10% in 1996.
According to Christopher Murray, the director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, and researcher on the study, still there is a great distinction across the USA in smoking rates, and even within states, where some counties have smoking rates of 7 to 8% for males, and other counties 30% or higher rate. In state of Virginia males in Falls Church had a 5% smoking rate in 2012, but in Covington County that rate was almost five times higher.
Bill Blatt, director of tobacco programs at the American Lung Association, told that it is good that smoking rates have been decreasing, but a lot of work still needs to be done in rural areas, because cessation programs are mostly concentrated in big cities.
The study found that counties in Tennessee, Kentucky and West Virginia had the highest rates of total cigarette smoking, while counties in Utah and other Western states have the lowest. The rates do vary by gender, with more smoking men than women.