For Maine’s poorer counties, it’s harder to kick the smoking habit

The New York Times released a story yesterday looking at how smoking rates across the country have barely declined in the last 14 years among adults living in poverty, despite significant declines in more affluent counties.

In their analysis of federal smoking data released Monday, you can see that  holds true for Maine as well.

A new analysis of federal smoking data reveals that although the national smoking rate has been falling, there is a clear geographic divide. Poorer counties, like some in Kentucky, have experienced smaller declines than wealthier counties.

In Maine, Aroostook, Washington, Somerset and Oxford Counties have higher smoking rates than the national average (25-27 percent) and, for the most part, lower median incomes then the state average by almost $10K. Their smoking rates have barely dropped in the last 14 years.

Meanwhile, Maine’s southern counties — Sagadahoc, Cumberland and York — have lower smoking rates than the national average (17-20 percent), have all dropped about 5 percentage points in the past 14 years, and hold median incomes $7-9K higher than the state median.

To see the data nationwide and to compare smoking rates for men and women, visit the interactive map at the New York Times article.