Dickinson-Iron County Critical Health Indicators

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Cigarette Smoking                                                    

What Is It?

Cigarette smoking is the single most important preventable cause of premature death. It contributes to:

heart disease, strokes, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease;

cancer of the lungs, larynx, mouth, esophagus, cervix, and bladder;

and low birth weight babies.

How are Dickinson and Iron Counties doing?

Specific information on smoking for Dickinson and Iron County is unavailable.  The last survey completed for adults in the Upper Peninsula region showed that 27 percent of all adults smoke. (2000,MDCH)

How is the State of Michigan doing?

Each year an estimated 16,000 Michigan smokers die from tobacco-caused illnesses. On average, smokers die almost seven years earlier than nonsmokers.

The 1998 Michigan Behavioral Risk Factor Survey (BRFS) indicated that 25.7 percent of Michigan adults were current smokers. During the past 10 years, there has been no significant change in the prevalence of smoking in Michigan.

Michigan ranks 38th for average annual deaths related to smoking (number one is the lowest death rate). The state also ranks 40th for tobacco control funding. To view Michigan smoking statistics, click here.

How do Dickinson and Iron Counties compare with Michigan and the U.S.?

In a five year average from 1995-1999, the smoking rate in the Upper Peninsula region was 27.5 percent of all adults. And, during the same period, Michigan had an adult smoking rate of 26.0 percent. The United States rate was 22.7 percent for the same period. In 1999, Michigan had the tenth highest proportion of adult smokers among all states.

Source:  Michigan Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey

How are different populations affected?

Men are more likely to be current smokers than women. However, men are quitting in larger numbers than women and the difference between the two groups is decreasing. Recent studies examining gender differences related to smoking suggest that something in addition to nicotine is involved in women's dependence on smoking tobacco.

The prevalence of current cigarette smoking is inversely related to both education and household income. Individuals from households in the lowest income category have the highest rates of smoking. The mean number of cigarettes smoked per day also decreases with increasing education levels.

In 1998, an estimated 40.7 percent of respondents in the age group 18-24 were current cigarette smokers.  They represented the age group with the highest proportion of current smokers in Michigan and the proportion of smokers in this age group has increased by nearly eight percentage points since 1990.

What other information is important to know?

The nicotine in tobacco is one of the most addictive substances available, much more addictive than alcohol and most of the illicit drugs commonly used today. Of current daily smokers in Michigan, nearly half reported that they had tried to quit smoking in the past year.

Smoking during pregnancy increases the risk of infant mortality, low birthweight, and the adverse outcomes associated with low birthweight.

What is the Dickinson-Iron District Health Department doing to affect this indicator?

The Dickinson-Iron District Health Department coordinates the Dickinson-Iron Tobacco Free Community Coalition and quarterly coalition meetings. These meetings bring together key individuals and organizations such as the American Heart Association, American Lung Association, American Cancer Society, Michigan 4H, media, school and law enforcement representatives that are committed to providing programming for tobacco prevention. Through a coordinated approach on key community activities, a more comprehensive prevention program has been possible.

Focus has been placed on education programs for youth and policy development at the local level. Work has been directed at educating the community on the dangers of secondhand smoke in the workplace and passing voluntary policies in addition to support for broader community restrictions on workplace smoking. Enforcement of minor access to tobacco products has resulted in increased compliance. Reducing tobacco advertising through education and voluntary measures has also been a priority. Educating and mobilizing the community for environmental change efforts will continue to be a cornerstone of the program.

The Peer Education programs in Dickinson and Iron Counties have provided a school based knowledge base to counter youth tobacco advertising. The Health Department in partnership with the Dickinson Community Resource Center and funding from the Dickinson Area Community Foundation has targeted media resources to counter tobacco company advertising. Several regular projects that promote Healthy lifestyles through Youth Asset Development are provided by the Dickinson-Iron Healthy Youth Coalition.

Tobacco cessation initiatives have taken place around the Great American Smoke Out, Kick butts day, World No Tobacco day. Over 3,000 pieces of cessation material were distributed to Dickinson and Iron County Residents in 2000. With help from our media and small grants, the coalition has been able to sponsor advertising that highlights free cessation materials and motivates people to quit. Statewide programs that include Medicaid coverage for smoking cessation products (Medicaid Hotline,"I'd Rather Cope Than Smoke" 1-800 834-4781, which is a FREE Program for all Medicaid patients), and Smoke-free Baby and Me are also promoted to health care providers. Increasing physician involvement with helping their patients stop smoking has been a priority.

Tobacco prevention activities will continue to incorporate a community approach to education and policy development at the local level. Hopes are to add more advertising/youth prevention strategies that have been proven effective and employed by states like California, Massachusetts, and Florida if funding is made available. Partnering with other collaborative agencies has increased our ability to disseminate more materials to a larger audience.