After decades of declining US smoking rates overall, most remaining smokers have low income, no college education, no health insurance, or a disability according to research from the Colorado School of Public Health at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus.
About 15 percent of US adults – more than 36 million – continue to smoke cigarettes. Half to three-fourths of them have one or more low-socioeconomic disadvantages, and the lowest socioeconomic categories have the highest smoking rates. The study concludes that continuing tobacco use is now concentrated among the least advantaged portion of society.
“It’s unusual to find part of the population experiencing high rates of a health problem and also representing the majority of affected people,” said study author Dr. Arnold Levinson, associate professor of community and behavioral health at the Colorado School of Public Health at CU Anschutz. “But with smoking, we have this unusual situation: Americans with lower socioeconomic status today are suffering from epidemic smoking rates, and they make up nearly three-fourths of all our remaining smokers.”
The research, published in February in the Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved, used data from a national survey which the University of Colorado directed in 2012.
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