The Tobacco Epidemic in Marion County and Indiana
The health risks associated with smoking have been well documented, but even as smoking rates for U.S. adults have decreased from 45 percent to 15 percent since 1964, tobacco use remains a concerning and costly challenge to the economic development, health and quality of life of communities across the country. This challenge is particularly acute in Indiana, where the current smoking rate of 22.9 percent— an increase from the previous year—leaves the state ranked a troubling 44th among all states. By comparison, the top ten healthiest states in the U.S. all boast smoking rates of 17.5 percent or less, within reach of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s target of 12 percent. The same trend holds true for Indianapolis. As of 2014, the city’s adult smoking rate was 22.2 percent, and among the 30 largest cities in the U.S., Indiana’s capital was tied with Nashville, Detroit and Louisville for second-to-last place in smoking rates. By contrast, the healthiest cities had smoking rates that fell between 9 and 12 percent.