Risk Factor: Smoking
Cigarette smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States. Nearly 500,000 people die annually from smoking related causes in the US, which accounts for nearly 20% of all deaths.13Although choosing to smoke is a personal choice, disadvantaged populations in the U.S. are at higher risk and suffer disproportionately from tobacco-related illness and death.
- In 2013, smoking prevalence was 80% higher among persons living below poverty (29.2%) compared to those living at or above poverty (16.2%)14
- The rate of smoking in LGBT populations is 50% higher than others14 o Although the U.S. has made significant progress in reducing smoking prevalence, success has varied dramatically across income levels. Higher-income communities generally see more rapid declines in smoking rates compared to lower-income communities.14
- Currently in the Greater New Haven area, smoking rates range from 6% in high-income city neighborhoods to 26% or more in lower-income city neighborhoods. Decreasing the percentage of adult smokers from 18% in 2015 to 14% in 2020 is one of the key health goals set by the New Haven CTP.4,5
- Researchers have identified a number of factors that contribute to these disparities including: targeting tobacco advertising towards low-income communities, unequal dissemination of information about the health risks of smoking, and inequalities in smoking norms, social stigmas, discrimination and support systems.15
Inspirational Innovation: Craving to Quit
An evidence-based tobacco cessation program delivering treatment on mobile devices and the web through videos, animations, in-the-moment exercises, and an online support community. Craving to Quit is a Yale-developed mobile application backed by top tier funding sources (e.g., the NIH and the American Heart Association) as well as top tier research collaborators (e.g., Mayo Clinic and the University of Virginia). In a recent randomized controlled trial, Craving to Quit’s training was shown to be twice as effective as the American Heart Association’s Freedom from Smoking Program when delivered in person.
4. Abraham M, Buchanan M. Greater New Haven Community Index. New Haven, CT: DataHaven;2016.
5. New Haven City Transformation Plan. 2016.
15. Voigt K. Smoking and Social Justice. Public Health Ethics. 2010;3(2):91-106.