January 6, 2011 - According to an article published Monday night, January 3rd on The Daily Beast, 24.6 percent of Tulsans are smokers, and they smoke an average of 16.2 cigarettes a day. Nearly 27 percent have tried to quit with gum, 32.8 percent with patches and 7.4 percent with a support program. The self-reported data were gathered by Experian Simmons, a consumer research company, and analyzed by the news site, according to the article.
Tulsa has fewer smokers per capita than another top-30 city, Louisville, Ky., but more people in Louisville have made attempts to quit, according to the data.
About 21.5 percent of people in Tulsa County smoke every day, and 6.4 percent smoke some days, according to 2009 data from the Centers for Disease Control.
Oklahoma City ranked seventh in the article, with 22.1 percent of the population smoking an average of 15.4 cigarettes a day. About 23.5 percent of smokers there have tried to quit with gum, 30.4 percent with patches and 8.9 percent with a support program, according to the article.
Cities in the Southeast dominated the list, and Oklahoma and Tennessee had five of the metro areas ranked.
Those two states (Oklahoma and Kentucky) are the only ones that do not allow cities to make smoking ordinances stricter than state law, and that's the reason they are so high in the rankings, said Doug Matheny, chief of Tobacco Use Prevention Services at the Oklahoma State Department of Health.
Most of the 21 states that aren't entirely smoke-free have cities that have declared themselves smoke-free. Tulsa and Oklahoma City can't respond in the same way, he said.
"The hands of cities in Oklahoma have been tied," he said. Lobbying from the tobacco industry has kept the state from allowing local control. Companies can give away free packs of cigarettes in bars, and some public places have no tobacco restrictions, Matheny said. "Most states didn't fall for it," he said, "but Oklahoma did."
The regulations can affect economic development, too. At least 25 national organizations refuse to have conferences in cities that aren't smoke-free, and some companies refuse to locate in such a city because they want a healthier workforce, he said.
The article's release coincides with the annual pledge many smokers take to quit for the new year.
Tobacco Road: Which States Have The Worst Smoker's Breath? by Chris Morran, consumerist.com, 9/8/2010..
For list of the 30 cities with the worst smoking records..
Reference: Tulsa named worst city for smoking by SHANNON MUCHMORE World Staff Writer, Tulsa World, 1/5/2011.