How to reduce smoking in groups that still light up?
Advertising, tobacco taxes and public prohibitions have sharply reduced smoking rates in the United States since the 1960s. For those who never smoked or quit, the main health benefits were reduced risk of cancer, heart disease and stroke.
But 15 percent of americans (about 40 million) continue to smoke.
Who are they? Why are they still smoking?
“There is a huge gap in smoking in this country,” said Jeffrey Drope, a researcher at the American cancer society. The lead author of the study appeared in the “CA: cancer journal”.
The highest smoking rate is the frequent intersect. About 25 percent of adults earn less than the federal poverty line, as do nearly a third of those with low-paying jobs. Among native americans, 24 percent smoke.
In geography, adults living between Michigan and Mississippi are much more likely to smoke than adults living in the northeast or Midwest. Adults with college education, heterosexuals, asians or latinos, had the lowest smoking rates.
The smoking gap is not spontaneous and will not be unaffordable, Drope says. Drope said, internal documents show from tobacco companies, according to the population characteristics of particularly vulnerable (low income earners, the LGBTQ community and black americans) targeted marketing, to prove that they successfully attracted a cigarette.
In the past, success in reducing smoking rates in some communities could lead to a sense of accomplishment, leaving marginalized groups behind. Most policy makers, after graduating from college, put them in a population of only 6.5 percent of the population, while nearly a quarter didn’t finish high school.
The prevalence of smoking by income is similar. The federal poverty line’s adult income is much higher than a person’s $12,060 and a family of four, $24,600, below the national average. Those with lower incomes were much more likely to smoke.
The data also show that adults with lifelong mental illness are much more likely to smoke than the general population. “It is important to note that people with severe mental illness are most likely to die from smoking-related diseases,” Drope said.
Ideally, advocates say, the smoking rate for all people would be less than 10%. Except for high earners and college graduates, only Asian and latino women fall into this category. Geographically, Utah is the only state with a fairly low proportion of residents.
What else can we do? “We are very fortunate in this area,” said Matthew Myers, President of the smokeless children’s movement. “We know what works: higher taxes, secondhand smoke, tough mass media campaigns.”
In New York City, for example, smoking is prohibited in most workplaces and public places. Anyone who buys a pack of cigarettes pays a state tax of $4.35 and a municipal tax of $1.50. The smoking rate among urban residents was 13 percent, compared with 15 percent nationwide.
These methods help prevent young people from smoking. “For the first time in history, the smoking rate for high school students is less than 10 percent,” Myers said. To reduce the total number of smokers, the trick is to attract adults who have quit smoking.
Improving the coverage of smoking cessation AIDS and promoting the development of new drugs may help more people stop smoking. So far, the latest e-cigarette data suggest that they may help some adults reduce their smoking habits, but may encourage children to start smoking.
Australia is the world leader, with the exception of the graphic warning label, which requires the packaging of tobacco products to be simple. U.S. law instructs the U.S. food and drug administration to demand graphic warnings about cigarettes, but tobacco companies successfully challenged the rules in court in 2012.
Other countries have promulgated national smoke-free policies. Although the country’s policy is very different now, the national measures will also help more americans. “These are the things that control tobacco 101,” says Drope of the American cancer society. “America doesn’t do that.”