- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 25, 2014

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Some counties in Iowa have double the smoking rates of others in the state, according to a new study that shows the higher rates are usually in rural areas.

The national report from the University of Washington says all Iowa counties have had declines in smoking, The Des Moines Register reported (https://dmreg.co/1iwj6H3 ). However, some counties are seeing rates drop three times as quickly as others.

The researchers used data from phone surveys taken for the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, though the agency was not involved in the study. The CDC has separately ranked Iowa as 30th in cigarette use. Kentucky has the highest use and Utah has the lowest.

The counties with the largest declines in smoking rates tend to be in urban and suburban areas, according to the new report. Rural counties usually have the lowest. More than 20 percent of adults in Wapello and Lee counties said they smoked daily in 2012. In Story and Johnson counties, rates were below 10 percent.

Dr. Ali Mokdad, a University of Washington professor who led the study, said the differences in rural and urban areas could be associated with education and income. He added that people in more urban areas tend to see more anti-smoking campaigns. They’re also more likely to be affected by people who don’t smoke or are trying to quit.

“If you decide to live a healthier lifestyle, people around you are supporting your efforts to do so,” he said.

Nationally, Dallas County in central Iowa had the seventh-fastest decline in smoking from 1996 through 2012, when it went from 19.4 percent to 10.9 percent.

Beth Turner, Dallas County program coordinator for the American Lung Association, said people and agencies in the area have discouraged tobacco use through smoking bans at offices, parks and apartment buildings.

“We’ve had a lot of success with those policies,” she said.


Information from: The Des Moines Register, https://www.desmoinesregister.com



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