CNN — Residents of 12 states in the South and Midwest are more likely to smoke – and to smoke more – than people living in the rest of the United States, according to a new report.
Truth Initiative, a nonprofit focused on ending tobacco use, has dubbed that group of states “Tobacco Nation,” a region that spans Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee and West Virginia.
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This group of states is home to about 21% of the US population but 28% of smokers in the country.
Overall, smoking prevalence is about 50% higher there than in the rest of the US. About 19% of adults smoke in this group of states, compared with about 13% of adults in other states.
A similar pattern holds among young adults. About 11% of adults under 25 in these states smoke, compared with less than 8% in other states. Teenagers in these states are also more likely to smoke.
Smoking prevalence has been consistently higher than average among these 12 states since Truth Initiative’s first report on the topic five years ago.
According to Truth Initiative, much of the disparity can be attributed to weaker local policy on tobacco prevention and cessation, particularly due to industry influence and lack of political will from decision-makers.