anti-smoking efforts began decades ago, according to a report this week
from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,” reports Lauren P. Duncan of The Paducah Sun. “Health leaders aren’t sure what that means for Kentucky, though, where tobacco use is much higher than most states.”
Based on a continuing survey of Americans, the CDC said 15.2 percent of adults smoked in
the first quarter of the year, down from 16.8 percent in the first three months of 2014, a sharp drop as smoking rates go.
“This is preliminary data for 2015 so we don’t know for sure if it’s going to stay the same once we get the other three parts of the year in place,” said Thomas Carr, director of national policy for the American Lung Association. “But it’s encouraging. It’s a significant decrease.”
Preliminary data don’t break down smoking rates by states. Kentucky has ranked first or second in various surveys for many years. In 2013, the state’s rate was 26.5 percent, putting Kentucky in second place behind West Virginia, where 27.3 percent smoked.
“Health leaders have attributed the national decline to a variety of
factors, including aggressive anti-smoking campaigns and smoke-free
laws,” Duncan reports. “Carr said increased taxes, prices of tobacco products and
increased funding for anti-tobacco programs have also figured into the
decline. But he said statewide smoking bans are likely the greatest deterrent.”
About a third of Kentuckians live in places with smoking bans. A bill to impose a statewide smoking ban passed the House for the first time last year but never moved in the Senate. County-by-county smoking rates are available at KentuckyHealthFacts.org. The data can be converted into a trend graph showing how smoking rates have changed, in up to six selected counties on each graph. (Click on image for larger version)