Tobacco survey shows progress in Ohio County

Interact for Health recently released results of the first ever Greater Cincinnati Adult Tobacco Survey. Data from the 2018 survey shows that progress on tobacco use in the region, including Ohio County, lags behind the nation.

Interact for Health, an independent foundation that serves regional counties in Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky.

The survey reflects the findings of 2,300 randomly selected adults in a 22-county area, including Ohio, Dearborn, Ripley, Franklin, and Switzerland counties.

The survey, conducted by the Institute for Policy Research at the University of Cincinnati, found that 20% of adults living in Ohio, Dearborn and Ripley counties are smokers compared to 19% of Tri-State adults, or 340,000 people, and 14% nationwide.

About 600,000 adults in Greater Cincinnati use some type of tobacco product.

If the percentage of Greater Cincinnati adults who smoke was similar to the nation, the region would have 90,000 fewer current smokers.

The survey also examined use of other tobacco products, with 12% of Greater Cincinnati adults reporting that they currently use e-cigarettes; 8% use cigars or cigarillos and 5% use smokeless tobacco.

With the emergence of new products such as e-cigarettes, the tobacco product landscape is evolving, presenting new challenges, said O’dell Moreno Owens, president and CEO of Interact for Health.

In recent years, the use of electronic cigarettes, e-cigarettes and vaping products has increased dramatically among youth and young adults, he stressed.

Nationally, e-cigarette use among high school students increased 78% from 2017 at 12% to 2018 at 21%.

E-cigarettes often are known by popular brands including JUUL, and users often refer to  “vaping” or “JUULing.”

Almost 4 in 10, or 36%, report that they are current e-cigarette users, higher than current e-cigarette use among other age groups and all adults in the region at 12%.

“If we want to create a healthier community, we can’t become complacent about tobacco,” said Owens.

“We need to implement tobacco control strategies that have been shown to work, including policies such as smoke-free workplace laws and Tobacco 21, to reach out to communities with education about tobacco in culturally appropriate ways and to provide cessation support that is tailored to the individual’s needs.”

Interact for Health has targeted reducing tobacco use one of is priorities, investing up to $9 million over five years to protect the community from the harms of tobacco, he said.

The Greater Cincinnati Adult Tobacco Survey also examined the following:
Disparities: Progress in reducing tobacco use has not been experienced by all people, leading to poorer health outcomes.
Groups that continue to be burdened at higher rates include people with lower incomes, young adults, African Americans and people living in rural Kentucky counties.
Culture: The deeply rooted culture of tobacco use impacts why people start smoking and why they continue. In all, 80% of adults reported that smoking is common in their community.

The survey report is available online at http://www.interactforhealth.org/about-tobacco-survey.

Meanwhile, the Indiana State Department of Health recently confirmed the first death of an Indiana resident due to severe lung injury linked to a history of e-cigarette use or “vaping.”

ISDH, at the direction of Gov. Eric Holcomb, has developed a a three-pronged strategy to reduce vaping among Indiana youth. Learn more about the dangers of e-cigarette use for youth at vapefreeindiana.isdh.in.gov.

For the latest on vaping-related illnesses nationwide, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at www.cdc.gov.