Make Yours A Smoke-free Home (2)

A new report was published today from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), showing wide variability in exposure to secondhand smoke and cigarette smoking prevalence across the United States, but overall things are moving in the right direction.

Around 8% of the adult population report exposure to tobacco smoke while at work, and a similar number report it at home. 45% of smokers live in a household with an indoor smoking ban, as do 85% of non-smokers, giving an overall average of around 78%(note these figures are from surveys covering 11 states).

The report also gave state-by-state figures for cigarette smoking prevalence from a state-based survey carried out in 2008 (BRFSS). This found a median smoking rate of 18.4% (20.4% for men and 16.7% for women). But there continue to be wide differences in smoking rates across states, from 9% in Utah to 27% in West Virginia. I was pleased to see New Jersey again doing well with the third lowest cigarette smoking prevalence in the country (14.8%), catching up on California at 14%. New Jersey is now one of 6 or 7 states with a lower male cigarette smoking prevalence than California and New Jersey is the state with the highest proportion of ex-smokers. For a summary of why New Jersey has done so well at reducing smoking, check out my posting of June 30th:

West Virginia, in addition to having the highest smoking rate overall (26.6%), is the only state in which more women (27.1%) smoke than men (26.1%). I’d be interested in hearing your views on why cigarette smoking rates remain so high in West Virginia, particularly among women.

West Virginia has a relatively low state cigarette tax rate (55 cents per pack). Rhode Island has the highest state cigarette tax ($3.46 per pack). West Virginia has not passed legislation protecting all workers from exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke.

The data for 2008 presented in this new report were collected prior to the $1 increase in federal cigarette taxes, and so there is every reason to believe that this will help continue the trend towards less smoking in 2009 and 2010. However, there is a greater need to provide assistance to smokers who want to quit but find that they are addicted. The head of CDC, Dr Tom Frieden pointed out in an interview that various state and local governments across the country collect $25 billion per year from tobacco settlements and taxes, but spend only 3% of that on tobacco control. It would be far better to invest more of that money in prevention.
The new CDC report can be found at:

For a previous post on smoke-free homes:
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About the Author

MA, MAppSci, PhD

Dr. Jonathan Foulds is an expert in the field of tobacco addiction.