What does this measure?
The percent of adults who report currently smoking.
Why is this important?
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.
How is our county doing?
In 2012, 15% of Essex County adults reported smoking, about the same as 16% in the state but lower than the 19% nationally. Essex County had a 6-percentage point decrease in the share of adults who smoke since 2002, compared to a 3-point decline in the state and 4-point decline the nation.
How do we compare to similar counties?
In the last year that data was available for all comparison counties (2009), Essex County had a bit higher smoking rate, at 16%. Lake, IL had 15%, Westchester, NY had 14% and Middlesex, MA had 11%.
Notes about the data
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.