The percent of adults who report currently smoking.
Tobacco use contributes to higher rates of cardiovascular disease, respiratory illnesses and cancer. According to the Centers for Disease Control, cigarette smoking is estimated to increase the risk for coronary heart disease or stroke by two to four times, and the risk of developing lung cancer by 23 times for men and 13 times for women. If no one smoked, one in every three cancers deaths in the U.S. would not occur.
In 2012, 15% of Essex County adults reported smoking, about the same as 16% in the state but lower than the 20% nationally. This represents a 3-point decline from 2011, similar to the 2-point decline in the state and slightly higher that the 1-point decline in the nation in the same time period.
In the last year that data was available for all comparison counties (2012), Essex had a slightly higher smoking rate than Middlesex at 13%.
Data come from federal and local government surveys designed to collect scientific data on health risks and behaviors. Current county-level data is not available. Beginning in 2011, the Centers for Disease Control made two changes to the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System on which this indicator is based. The survey now includes cell-phone users, and a new statistical method is used to weight responses.