Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Are We Smoking More or Less?

This is not the post I intended for today, but one I chose to reproduce from a work related email I sent out last week. I didn’t realize that the general public had also been exposed to some confusing information about the current rate of smoking in this country until my Mom mentioned something about it tonight. That being said, I will share with you the same email I sent to my peers. I will explain some of the abbreviations however!

The November 13 MMWR (Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report – morbidity means disease) from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) , of which there were two, give us different numbers in regards to tobacco use and cessation (quitting). This is confusing. One report uses the in person NHIS (National Health Information Survey) data with 62 % of 21,781 persons responding and the other is from the BRFSS (Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance System) telephone survey of 414,509 respondents. (notice the HUGE difference in numbers and that one is an in person survey and the other a telephone survey)
It is said that the findings are different as the NHIS data is meant to track trends towards the Healthy People 2010 objective of 12 % smoking rates, while the BRFSS gives us better state level measures.
That being said, Florida’s smoking prevalence rate HAS declined. (newspaper headlines are focusing on the first national prevalence increase in I believe 15 years. I do not want me or you to be disheartened because we ARE making a difference in Florida. ) According then, to the MMRW that focuses on state – level estimates, Florida is now at 17.5 % total adult smokers, 18.7 men and 16.4 women! That is BELOW the national average with which we were even last time.

In the MMWR with the NHIS data, we learn that the highest level of smoking is in persons who have a GED. Interestingly, in the data set, I see that all age groups have gone up in prevalence EXCEPT the 18-24 age group. Otherwise the age group prevalence was similar across the board until we get to age 65 which is significantly lower (death and quitting!) Also in this data set: of all persons who had smoked at least 100 cigarettes in their lifetime, 51% had quit.

And for tobacco treatment specialists and educators, this statement is worth sharing, “Evidence based programs known to be effective at reducing smoking should be intensified among groups with lower education, and health care providers should take education level into account when communicating about smoking hazards and cessation to these patients.”

Here is the CDC table listing state smoking rates.

TABLE 2. Estimated prevalence of current cigarette smoking among adults,* by sex and state/area --- Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), United States, 2008

Much to my chagrin, I cannot paste the tables in here so that they are in any way readable. This is only the half of it, HOWEVER, it is the lower half! Please go to this CDC link . You will see a much better image of the nations smoking rates.

There is more that might interest you in the data.

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