Cutting Tobacco’s Rural Roots

Last week, the American Lung Association released a new report called Cutting Tobacco’s Rural Roots:  Tobacco Use in Rural Communities, which examines the uphill battle rural communities face against tobacco addiction and secondhand smoke.  The report also discusses the environmental, social and cultural factors that contribute to a higher rate of tobacco use among youth and adults in rural America. 

Of course being a national report, a lot of the information is focused on far off places like Arkansas and Kentucky. (In fact, the report was a big reminder to me that many places in the country are still struggling to pass smokefree workplaces laws.)

But even here in California the smoking prevalence rate in rural communities is between 16% and 21%. This is significantly higher than the statewide smoking prevalence rate of 12.1%. In addition, youth in California’s rural communities are two times more likely to use smokeless tobacco than their counterparts who live in urban areas.

This isn’t really news to us or to you. But the intention of the report (as well as others like SOTC) is to highlight areas of concern for communities to address. We hope the media attention will increase public and decision maker support to help you do your work. The American Lung Association in California is deeply committed to protecting all Californians from the harmful effects of tobacco use and we appreciate all that our partners in rural areas have done to combat this problem. While we can’t be everywhere in every community, our reports are our way of helping to move tobacco control forward in every corner of the state.

Check out some of California news stories about the report:

Please visit our website at to download a copy of the report. You can also visit us on Facebook and Twitter to share our posts with your friends, colleagues and networks. I hope you find the information useful and I hope you’ll help us promote this report to a much wider audience.  

–Vanessa Marvin

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