Photo: Raul Lieberwirth (Flickr)
For example, Hamilton County has the smallest percent of its population in poverty in the state, and its smoking rate has dropped 2.2 percent annually since 1996. But Delaware County, with relatively high poverty rates, has changed only 0.7 percent annually.
Jacey Foley is the coordinator for the tobacco free coalition in Delaware County and she says within her county the gap between the rich and poor does not play a role in smoking rates.
“What you would think might be something that people who were not as educated might tend to do (smoking)–we are not seeing that,” Foley said. “Not here in our county.”
But Indiana University Department of Applied Health Science associate professor Jon Macy says he’s not surprised by the findings.
“We failed in terms of delivering interventions to those high risk groups in our communities and we need to do a better job,” Macy said.
He says the study provides the data needed to better develop strategies of reducing smoking rates on a local level.