Cigarette smoking is a serious problem in America. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are more than 480,000 smoking deaths per year, making it the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the country. An estimated 34.2 million Americans are smokers, which is more than 13% of the adult population. While smoking rates nationwide have declined nearly 21% since 2005, smoking rates by city and state still vary.
Our research team analyzed data from the CDC’s 500 Cities project to find out which U.S. cities have the highest percentages of smokers. Which cities top the list?
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Which Cities Have the Highest Percentages of Smokers?
Based on our findings, these are the top 10 cities with the highest smoking rates in the U.S. along with their percentages of adult smokers:
- Detroit, MI: 29.2%
- Cleveland, OH: 29.2%
- Flint, MI: 29.1%
- Erie, PA: 28.2%
- Youngstown, OH: 28.0%
- Gary, IN: 27.6%
- Dayton, OH: 27.4%
- Canton, OH: 27.0%
- Toledo, OH: 26.9%
- Evansville, IN: 26.6%
Detroit tops the list, with nearly 30% of all adults there identifying as smokers. With an estimated 503,934 adults in Detroit, that means there are about 147,148 smokers in the city. Cleveland has the same percentage of smokers as Detroit, but with a smaller population, the city has fewer total smokers.
It’s interesting to note how many times Ohio appears on the list. Cities in Ohio make up half of the top ten and appear eight times on the list overall.
What about the state with the most smokers? According to the CDC, that would be West Virginia, where 25.2% of adults smoke. Utah has the lowest percentage of adult smokers, at just 9%.
The Health Consequences of Smoking
Smoking puts people at risk for a variety of health ailments, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, and more. Lung cancer is the leading cause of death for both men and women in America, and smoking is responsible for 90% of these deaths. Cigarettes contain thousands of chemicals and other dangerous substances, including lead, ammonia, benzene, carbon monoxide, radioactive elements, and arsenic.
Some of the other health problems that smoking can cause are:
- Birth defects and preterm delivery in pregnant women
- Reduced fertility in both men and women
- Tooth loss
- Type 2 diabetes
- Rheumatoid arthritis
Many people wonder if smoking e-cigarettes or vaping is healthier than traditional cigarettes. In reality, e-cigarette smokers may be exposing themselves to harmful chemicals that are even more dangerous than those in cigarettes. Many e-cigarette lawsuits have been filed due to the dangers of vaping, particularly since many people have been led to believe that they are a safer option than smoking.
Luckily, the sooner smokers quit, the better they may fare. According to the American Cancer Society, a smoker’s body begins to recover within minutes of smoking the last cigarette. The heart rate and blood pressure drop after 20 minutes, lung function improves within three months, and the risk of dying from lung cancer drops 50% after ten years. There truly is no better time to quit smoking than right now!