Who smokes?

October 19, 2010

A bit of a followup to a recent post on smoking bans-my route to the infographic was a tip from DirkH of Addiction Inbox blog.


Source MyHealthNewsDaily.com, your online source for news and information about the latest medical research, health news and trends.

18 Responses to “Who smokes?”

  1. Greg Laden Says:

    That drop off at 65 or older is rather suspicious. I wonder if smoking might be bad for you?


  2. 6% of folks with graduate degrees? Do they maybe lie about it more? It’s always seemed that psycholinguists smoke a surprising amount. And linguists, but maybe that’s because almost all the linguists I know are Italian…


  3. James Says:

    Here’s a stat I’d like to see: Ethnicity breakdown of smokers with PhDs–all the smokers I saw in grad school were Indian, Korean, and Chinese.


  4. Clam Says:

    #1 Greg, you may be wrong! I gave up a fifty year, fifty a day habit three weeks after my seventieth birthday. Why? I had been suffering from an infection (not smoking related) which meant that I was smoking only about five cigarettes a day and smoking is very expensive when one is on a pension, so I thought “What the hell? Why not give up?”.
    Just to point out the difficulties, though, it still hurts after nine months and I have gained a stone (14lbs, 6kg) in weight, which will undoubtedly shorten my life.


  5. @ James – I think a break down by nationality rather than ethnicity would be more insightful. I wonder if there is a similar education-smoking correlation in other counties.
    I find the statistics regarding education fascinating, especially because I do not believe that you need a PhD to know that smoking is bad for you. Even as a high school dropout I was aware of that.
    I suspect it has more to do with life satisfaction. Overcoming addiction is easier when you have a comfortable life.
    I also wonder if there is a correlation between office based jobs (more typically graduates) and outdoor jobs (more typically manual labor). When you can readily smoke on the job quitting becomes harder.
    I managed to quit in grad school and I honestly think the social stigmata of being a smoker helped me. It was the only environment I had been in where there was not a “smoking group” or someone to steal a smoke from.


  6. stripey_cat Says:

    Clam, caffeine is an appetite suppressant too 😉


  7. becca Says:

    @Clam- good news. The relationship between weight and health changes in quite old populations. An extra 14lbs might be ok, particularly if you are slightly to moderately overweight and not morbidly obese.
    NB- for those keeping along at home, do not gain weight to meet this. However, in the 65+ age category, *underweight* individuals are much more likely to die in the next X year period than moderately overweight individuals. The most likely culprit? Cancer (and chemo) kill your appetite.


  8. anonymous Says:

    What a great study, now we have more reasons to discriminate against smokers, those poor, uneducated smokers
    I can see the next titles for these “scientific breakthroughs”
    “The smokers are less intelligent than non-smokers!”
    “The smokers are bad and I can prove it with my studyeh!”


  9. I note with some mirth that Virginia is a high-smoking area for women.
    Is it because they’ve come a long way, baby?


  10. Isabel Says:

    Looks like yet another post about socioeconomic class in the good ol’ USA!!! DM you are on fire!
    Meanwhile, in other smoking news, here is my reply to you on your lovely college friend Mary’s blog. She’s a censor of comments that make her or her opinions look bad, like another good friend of yours, so you may never get a chance to see it.
    Sorry about accidentally directing Trollabel your way, dude.
    by drugmonkey October 20, 2010 at 8:19 pm
    Haha Drugmonkey,”accidentally”? yeah who would of thought people might check out something provocative, on a subject that never fails to get your readership worked up, that you post on both twitter and science blogs.
    It’s okay she’s a censor, and you know I don’t bother with people once I realize that. (she left the profanity-which I reined in immediately btw when I realized how devoutly religious she was, not a typical college student- but I guess she couldn’t handle my gentle sarcasm when I imitated her condescending *sigh* exclamation).But yeah she removed some of my important responses unfairly, so nice friends you have
    And yeah, devoutly religious, but not above lying when it suits her. She has not removed the offending assertions from her OP, even though the lies have been pointed out to her. Instead she censors the comments. And she admits the lung cancer evidence is weak, but hasn’t removed that unqualified assertion either.


  11. AcademicLurker Says:

    Interesting how stable the numbers are over the entire age range under 65.
    I tended to think of smoking as something that was declining with each new generation, but it seems more like things have settled into a steady state.


  12. DrugMonkey Says:

    One set of data on smoking rates across time in the US can be found at the bottom of this post


  13. P Smith Says:

    Who smokes?
    Buttheads smoke, that’s who. The uneducated and ignorant, those who don’t listen to the facts.


  14. Jiyoon Says:

    This was an interesting survey results. Especially, the education survey surprised me the most. I expected that the more educated a person is, the less percentage a person is likely to smoke. But the results showed exactly opposite. Also, the poverty matched up with my prediction. Overall, this was very nice information.


  15. Michael K Says:

    I find interesting the definition for smokers. 100 or more cigarettes, the number seems a bit low?


  16. DuWayne Says:

    P Smith –
    The acutely dependent and addicted smoke too asshole.
    Michael K –
    Note they specified also smoked daily or some days. Some days usually = regularly in this context. Like a friend of mine who smokes some days, doesn’t others. He sometimes goes for days without, but there is no doubt he’s a smoker. Another friend of mine has probably smoked more than a hundred cigs in his life, possibly even a few hundred. But he has never regularly smoked and thus wouldn’t count.
    They use a relatively low number, because there are people who smoke regularly for a short period, but never a lot. While I have smoked a hell of a lot more than a hundred, at this point in life I smoke less than five a day, often only one or two. Again, no question that I’m a smoker.
    Also keep in mind that they are talking about people who are currently (or at the time of the interview) smoking on some regular basis.


  17. Joon Ha Says:

    I thought this chart was rather interesting mainly because of the fact that 1 out of every 5 Americans above the age of 18 smoke cigarettes. I find that this is just an outrageous statistic and that there should be something done to stop this.
    Over 20% of all deaths in the U.S. is from smoking cigarettes every year. This is just too big of a problem too overlook. The simple answer is to take away the right to smoke for all ages. It might create some uproar in the people but think about all the lives it would save.
    Reading this blog gives me a wanting to do something to prohibit smoking. I believe if someone did something about it then there wouldn’t be as many deaths.


  18. Daniel Says:

    If you look at it and look up some comparative surveys, you would actually realise that smoking is concentrated in some parts of the country. Furthermore, another set of statistics, which I cannot locate right now, says that the smoking rate in the USA is significantly HIGHER than what is shown above. In fact, due to the fact that smoking is heavily stigmatised, many people lie about it.
    Another thing is that the “fad” is to live “healthy”, which Americans understand as not smoking, running/jogging/working out, followed by driving their bottoms everywhere (walking CAN be used as a means of transportation, by the way) and eventually ending at a junk food junction.
    Before completely losing perspective, I would really like to add something in reply to number 17: you CANNOT make people think the way you do and share the same values as you do. And no, you cannot make people stop smoking. Do you know that somebody actually tried doing this in a different fashion some time ago? And do you know what happened? The Second World War happened! (I’d be really curious to read about some idealistic chap who tries fighting the tobacco industry.)
    Personally, I’m a smoker, I can talk about the bad sides of it for days, but I still smoke (although never at home – I hate the smell of smoky clothes), because I choose so and this is my right as a free citizen of a democratic country (not the USA, yet I used to live there).


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