The effect of smoking have killed millions of Americans over the years. The CDC says smoking damages almost every organ in the body. It can cause cancer, respiratory diseases, heart diseases, and strokes. It is America’s single largest cause of preventable deaths. Annual deaths from smoking related diseases are just shy of 500,000
Smoking also damages the economy. This includes $225 billion in direct medical costs. It also includes $156 billion in lost productivity, according to another CDC study.
Smoking continues to drive one of America’s largest industries. Tobacco company Altria had revenue of $26 billion last year.
Using data from County Health Rankings & Roadmaps, a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute joint program, 24/7 Tempo identified the metro area with the fewest smokers. Metropolitan areas are ranked on the adult smоking rate — the share of the 18 and older population who smoke every day or most days and have smoked at least 100 cigаrettes in their lifetime.
Smоking rates in the metro areas we considered range from 15.3% to 7.2%. The majority of metro areas reviewed are located in Western states, including 15 in California alone.
Given the proven detrimental effects of smоking, it is perhaps not surprising that some important health outcome measures tend to be better than average in metros with lower smоking rates. The correlation between smоking rates and life expectancy is also strong. In nearly every metro area on this list, average life expectancy at birth is above the national average of 79.2 years.
The American city with the fewest smokers is Provo-Orem, UT. Here are the details:
> Smoking rate: 7.2%
> Adults reporting poor or fair health: 13.3% — 21st lowest of 384 metros
> Premature deaths per 100,000: 254.6 — 28th lowest of 384 metros
> Life expectancy at birth (years): 80.57 — 65th highest of 384 metros
Methodology: To determine the metro with the fewest smokers, 24/7 Tempo reviewed the share of adults who are current smokers from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute joint program’s 2021 County Health Rankings & Roadmaps report. While the CHR report is from 2021, adult smoking rates are from 2018.
We used the 384 metropolitan statistical areas as delineated by the United States Office of Management and Budget and used by the Census Bureau as our definition of metros.
Metros were ranked based on the adult smoking rate. Additional information on the share of adults reporting poor or fair health, the number of deaths among residents under age 75 per 100,000, and life expectancy are also from the 2021 CHR.