Disparities Grow as Smoking Rates Rise Again

Link: https://americaninequality.substack.com/p/smoking-and-inequality?utm_source=post-email-title&publication_id=267573&post_id=138207076&utm_campaign=email-post-title&isFreemail=true&r=15zk5&utm_medium=email



South Dakota is home to 3 of the 5 counties with the highest percent of cigarette smokers. We’ve written about one of those counties, Oglala Lakota County, several times before as it has the lowest life expectancy of any county in the US (residents die at 67 on average), and median income is $30,347. Meanwhile, Utah is home to 6 of the 10 counties with the lowest percent of cigarette smokers. American Inequality has covered several of these counties before. For example, Summit County has the highest life expectancy of any county in the US (residents die at 87 on average), and median income is 2.5x higher than in Oglala. 

Cigarette smoking is 50% higher than in the following 12 states compared to the rest of the nation: Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee and West Virginia. An average smoker in these 12 states goes through about 53 packs in one year, compared with an average of 29 packs in the rest of the US. Life expectancy is 3 years lower in these states compared to the national average. 

In 1998, California became the first state to implement a smoke free law prohibiting smoking in all indoor areas of bars and restaurants, as well as in most indoor workplaces. As we can see from the map above, California now has one of the lowest percent of adults smoking in the country. 

Author(s): Jeremy Ney

Publication Date: 25 October 2023

Publication Site: American Inequality