New book gives insight into states’ tobacco records

West Virginia has high percentage of young adult smokers

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – In West Virginia, approximately 45 percent of young adults age 18 to 25 are smokers. That’s higher than the national average of about 39 percent. Among smokers age 25 and up, more than 90 percent of West Virginians smoked every day, compared with 81 percent nationally; and fewer West Virginians (34 percent) had tried to quit during the past 12 months when compared with the national average of about 40 percent.

Those indicators of tobacco’s hold on the state are part of a new Tobacco Chart Book co-authored by a West Virginia University researcher: “Cigarette Smoking Prevalence and Policies in the 50 States: An Era of Change – The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation ImpacTeen Tobacco Chart Book.”

But one positive statistic balances the grim news from West Virginia: Smoking prevalence in the United States has declined from 24.5 percent to 18.5 percent between 1992-93 and 2006-07, said Cindy Tworek, Ph.D., a member of WVU’s Translational Tobacco Reduction Research Program (T2R2) and faculty member in the WVU School of Pharmacy. T2R2 is a joint effort of the Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center at WVU and the West Virginia Prevention Research Center.

“We have made progress in reducing the number of smokers in the United States during that time period,” said Tworek, who co-authored the Tobacco Chart Book with Gary G. Giovino, Ph.D., and colleagues. Giovino is a professor and chair of the Department of Health Behavior at the University at Buffalo, The State University of New York.

Regarding the higher percentage of young adult smokers compared with other age groups, Tworek said, “This reflects the growth in young adult smoking and initiation among young adults that has occurred as the tobacco industry increased marketing to these age groups.”

Tworek recommends the book to anyone interested in detailed state-by-state smoking data, as well as national trends and policies related to tobacco. With a few exceptions, the data reported are those that were available as of Sept. 30, 2008.

The work, which was released earlier this summer at the National Conference on Tobacco or Health meeting in Phoenix, was issued by Project ImpacTeen at the University of Illinois at Chicago. The report is part of Bridging the Gap, a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation-funded nationally recognized research program committed to improving the understanding of how policies, programs and other environmental factors impact adolescents’ use of alcohol, tobacco and illicit drugs, in addition to childhood obesity.

For information on the book see http://www.impacteen.org/tobaccodata.htm or http://www.impacteen.org/chartbooks.htm or http://www.rwjf.org/pr/product.jsp?id=43928.

For information on the Translational Tobacco Reduction Research Program (T2R2) see http://www.hsc.wvu.edu/mbrcc/t2r2/.



For more information:
Andrea Brunais, HSC News Service, 304-293-7087
AB: 08-14-09

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