Although smoking rates in Connecticut decreased between 1996 and 2012, striking disparities persist among counties, according to new research from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington.
The widest gap existed between Windham County, a rural area with the state’s highest overall smoking rate (15.6 percent), and Fairfield County, one of the wealthiest regions in the country, which had the state’s lowest smoking rate (9.5 percent). About twelve percent of the state’s population smoked cigarettes in 2012.
“You’ll find lots of variations among counties even within small states like Connecticut that have successfully lowered smoking rates compared to other states in the nation,” said Ali Mokdad, professor of global health at IHME and one of the study’s authors.
The IHME study looked at smoking prevalence – the percentage of the population that smokes – between 1996 and 2012. Nationally, researchers found that a small number of highly populated counties lead the way in reducing smoking rates, while the percentage of people who smoked varied dramatically between counties and states.
Connecticut fared well on the state level, with health experts attributing the success to a combination of measures, including increased public awareness about the dangers of tobacco use, strong enforcement of rules governing tobacco sales to minors, and state Medicaid coverage for approved smoking cessation treatments.
Statewide, smoking rates declined from 18.1 percent to 12.1 percent, falling below the national average of 14 percent. Smoking rates among men dropped from 19.7 percent to 13.2 percent; smoking rates for women fell from 17.9 percent to 11.1 percent. More men smoke than women across all counties.
Read full story: http://c-hit.org/2014/04/03/as-ct-smoking-rates-decline-county-disparities-remain/