Cuyahoga County, OHIO (where Cleveland is) cigarette use lowest in state at 15%..

September 16, 2010 - Adult cigarette use in Cuyahoga County (where Cleveland is located) is at a historic low, significantly undercutting both state and national rates, according to the Ohio Department of Health. The county's 15-percent usage rate, the lowest in the state, rivals Ohio's 20.3 percent and the nation's 20.6 percent rate for 2009, according to the state.

It's interesting to note Ottawa County directly to the west of Cuyahoga County
Port Clinton, OHIO - may have highest incidence of cancer in nation..

Shelly Kiser, director of advocacy for the American Lung Association Midland States, said cigarette taxes and public smoking bans, along with cessation treatment, helped drive down the number of smokers.

The Lung Association on Wednesday, September 15th released two studies: one showing the economic benefits of state funding cessation programs and the other showing that tobacco tax revenues are a reliable source of income for all states and could help pay for treatment.

Based on the study results, The Lung Association is calling for a $1.24 per pack increase in Ohio's cigarette tax to generate $347 million annually. Currently in Cuyahoga County, federal, state and local taxes add up to $2.88 per pack.

"By itself, raising taxes is one of the best ways to reduce the rate of smokers," Kiser said, especially discouraging low-income residents and teenagers from buying cigarettes.

According to the first study, "Smoking Cessation: the Economic Benefits," smoking costs Ohio $13.8 billion each year in health care expenditures, losses in workplace productivity and premature deaths. For each dollar spent on helping smokers quit, says the study, Ohio would get a $1.41 return.

Local and state officials did not know why the number of smokers in Cuyahoga was so much lower than the rest of state, but cessation programs were sure to be a factor, they said. In Cuyahoga County, the smoking rate went from 20.7 percent in 2005 to 15 percent in 2009, according to the state's Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance Survey. The overall state rate went from 22.4 to 20.3 percent in the same time period.

Ohio saves money when people quit smoking, said economics professor Frank Chaloupka of the University of Illinios, who conducted the tax-benefit study. A decline in 1 percentage point in the adult smoking rate can save Ohio $837.1 million in healthcare costs each year, including $148.5 million in Medicaid expenses.

Cuyahoga Health Commissioner Terry Allen said smoking bans are critical and should be combined with taxes to drive down the number of cigarette smokers. But the tide could turn. Cuyahoga, along with the rest of the state, lost funding in June for prevention programs due to a pending law suit linked to tobacco settlement funds. (OHIO - Supreme Court to hear the appeal in its case seeking to preserve tobacco funds..)"When programs end, due to lack of funding, smoking rates tend to creep up," Allen said. This occurred in other states, including California.

Dr. Derek Raghavan, chairman of the Taussig Cancer Institute at the Cleveland Clinic said cessation programs generally work as long as you sustain them.

With about 1.9 million Ohioans puffing away at 742 million packs of cigarettes each year, Kiser said generating money for stop-smoking programs is vital. "Most people smoke because they are addicted and they need the services," she said.

Reference: Cuyahoga County smoking rate is lowest in Ohio, Ellen Kleinerman, The Plain Dealer, 9/16/2010.

Some Ohio related news briefs:
Port Clinton, OHIO - may have highest incidence of cancer in nation..;
OHIO - smoking ban should be strengthened NOT weakened..:
Ohio - Supreme Court rules in favor of R.J. Reynolds in Rolling Stones magazine multi-page ad..;
OHIO - Supreme Court to hear the appeal in its case seeking to preserve tobacco funds..;
OHIO - smoking complaints have dropped each year since the start of smoking ban..;
OHIO - judge stops collection of fines against a bar accused of allowing customers to smoke..;
OHIO - Legacy Foundation asks Supreme Court to hear appeal..;
OHIO - American Legacy Foundation will appeal decision to allow state to use tobacco funds..;
Ohio - enforcement of existing smoking ban a must..;
OHIO - appeals court rules state can use money set aside for tobacco prevention..;
OHIO - judge rules money can not be diverted from anti-tobacco fund..;
Ohio - state will provide NO funding for tobacco prevention and cessation programs..;
Ohio - don't cut spending on anti-tobacco programs it will cost the state much more in the long run..;
Ohio youth are using cigars and smokeless tobacco products and it is a continuously growing problem...