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Smoking

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status = better

We are healthy.

We have adequate nutrition and achieve and
maintain optimal physical and behavioral health.

15% of adults in Travis County are smokers

Indicator: Percent of adults in Travis County who are smokers

Goal: Reduce the percentage of people who smoke

Target: 12% by 2020

Significance of Indicator: Tobacco is the leading cause of preventable death in the U.S. according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They estimate that smoking results in billions of dollars in cost to US residents as a result of medical expenditures and lost productivity. The Austin/Travis County Health and Human Services Department says that smoking also has environmental consequences as it takes an estimated ten years for a cigarette butt to decompose.

what the data tell us

In 2011, 16% of Travis County residents reported being smokers. In 2012 the percentage decreased to 15%. A very small sample of people are surveyed about their smoking habits through the tool used to collect this data. As a result, the percentage decrease reported for Travis County may or may not reflect actual community conditions. At the state level, this smoking data is more reliable and we can observe that there has been a decrease in the percentage of people who are smokers in Texas between 2011 and 2012 (19% to 18%).

Definition: Adults ages 18 and older who smoke everyday or some days and have smoked 100 cigarettes in their lifetime

Data Source: Texas Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS)

Data Considerations: The BRFSS collects data through phone interviews. In 2011 the surveying process was expanded to include people with cell phones as well as people with landlines. As a result, this data is not comparable to BRFSS data from years prior to 2011. The sample sizes for BRFSS data are very small. Changes shown in this graph fall within the margin of error for the data and are not statistically significant.

the story behind the indicator

Before the negative effects of smoking were generally known, smoking was most prevalent among wealthier people. Now data shows that smoking is more prevalent among those who earn less than $25,000 a year. A closer analysis of smoking data shows the highest rates of smoking among the young and among men. Notably the data also shows that Black adults have higher smoking rates than other races or ethnicities, but Black youths (in grades 9-12) have lower smoking rates than other races or ethnicities. Smoking rates can be reduced by creating “smoke-free” environments. For example, smokers in a “no-smoke” workplace are 84% more likely to quit smoking than smokers in a workplace where smoking is allowed.

some local efforts to improve this indicator

  • The Austin/Travis County Health and Human Services Department (ATCHHSD) received a $7.5 million “Communities Putting Prevention to Work” grant in 2010 from the Centers for Disease Control to reduce smoking in our community. Among other activities funded through this grant, ATCHHSD has launched an extensive anti-tobacco media campaign in Austin/Travis County. Furthermore, ATCHHSD received a federal Community Transformation Grant of $1 million annually for 5 years to prevent chronic diseases through healthy living.
  • Local partners that ban tobacco on their campuses and properties include the University of Texas at Austin, Capital Metro, Huston-Tillotson University, Austin Public Libraries, City of Austin’s Parks, Seton Healthcare Family, St. David's Healthcare, Central Health, CommUnityCare, Austin Travis County Integral Care, ATCHHSD, Austin Community College, and Travis County.
  • Local hospitals, Central Health, and other community partners are referring smokers to free cessation resources.
  • The Mayor’s Health and Fitness Council is focused on providing community connections, building alliances and supporting the implementation of best practices and programs that truly affect positive change to healthy lifestyles.  Among other activities, the Fitness Council promotes healthy workplaces by certifying employers that have health initiatives to comprehensively address tobacco-free living, physical activity, and nutrition.
  • The Live Tobacco-Free Austin Advocacy Group consists of volunteers who are interested in eliminating smoking from Austin’s public spaces. The group is currently working to make all restaurant and bar patios smoke-free.
  • In November 2012, Travis County voters approved an additional 5-cent property tax for Central Health. Central Health reports that the tax rate increase will bring in an additional $54 million to be matched by another $76 million in federal funds, for an additional $130 million annually over the next four years.  Central Health is the lead agency for a six county Regional Healthcare Partnership Plan that describes how the region will transform healthcare delivery as part of a state-wide 1115 Waiver. The Plan includes several initiatives to address obesity and tobacco, two leading causes of chronic disease.

a closer look at the story behind the indicator:

Click on one of the titles below for more information.

» Smoking in Travis County - Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System Data

% of adults in Travis County who are current smokers by income

People with low incomes are generally more likely to smoke than people with higher incomes. In 2012, 16% of Travis County residents with incomes less than $25,000 and 17% of residents with incomes between $25,000-$74,999 reported being smokers. Only 9% of people with incomes of $75,000 or greater reported being smokers.

Definition: Adults ages 18 and older who smoke everyday or some days and have smoked 100 cigarettes in their lifetime by income

Data Source: Texas Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS)

Data Considerations: The BRFSS collects data through phone interviews. In 2011 the surveying process was expanded to include people with cell phones as well as people with landlines. As a result, this data is not comparable to BRFSS data from years prior to 2011. The sample sizes for BRFSS data are very small. Changes shown in this graph fall within the margin of error for the data and are not statistically significant.

% of adults in Travis County who are current smokers by age

Adults ages 18-29 are more likely to be smokers than adults in other age groups. Eighteen percent of adults ages 18-29 were smokers in 2012 compared to 16% of adults ages 30-44, 13% of adults ages 45-64, and 9% of adults ages 65 and over.

Definition: Adults ages 18 and older who smoke everyday or some days and have smoked 100 cigarettes in their lifetime by age

Data Source: Texas Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS)

Data Considerations: The BRFSS collects data through phone interviews. In 2011 the surveying process was expanded to include people with cell phones as well as people with landlines. As a result, this data is not comparable to BRFSS data from years prior to 2011. The sample sizes for BRFSS data are very small. Changes shown in this graph fall within the margin of error for the data and are not statistically significant. In 2012, the data for the population ages 18-29 is considered unstable because it either has a relative standard error greater than 30% or because the denominator represents fewer than 50 respondents.

% of adults who are current smokers in Travis County by gender

Men are significantly more likely to report being smokers than women. In 2012, 19% of men in Travis County were smokers compared to 10% of women.

Definition: Adults ages 18 and older who smoke everyday or some days and have smoked 100 cigarettes in their lifetime by gender

Data Source: Texas Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS)

Data Considerations: The BRFSS collects data through phone interviews. In 2011 the surveying process was expanded to include people with cell phones as well as people with landlines. As a result, this data is not comparable to BRFSS data from years prior to 2011. The sample sizes for BRFSS data are very small. Changes shown in this graph fall within the margin of error for the data and are not statistically significant.

% of adults who are current smokers in Travis County by race and ethnicity

In 2012 Hispanic adults in Travis County were more likely to report being smokers than Blacks or Whites. Seventeen percent of Hispanics were smokers compared to 14% of Blacks and 15% of Whites.

Definition:Adults ages 18 and older who smoke everyday or some days and have smoked 100 cigarettes in their lifetime by race/ethnicity

Data Source: Texas Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS)

Data Considerations: The BRFSS collects data through phone interviews. In 2011 the surveying process was expanded to include people with cell phones as well as people with landlines. As a result, this data is not comparable to BRFSS data from years prior to 2011. The sample sizes for BRFSS data are very small. Changes shown in this graph fall within the margin of error for the data and are not statistically significant. In 2011 and 2012, the data for the Black population is considered unstable because it either has a relative standard error greater than 30% or because the denominator represents fewer than 50 respondents. The 2011 data for Hispanics is also considered to be unstable.

» Youth Cigarette Smoking in Texas - Youth Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System Data

% of students in Texas who Have smoked cigarettes within the past month

Seventeen percent of Texas students reported smoking cigarettes at least once within the past month. There has been a steady decline in the percentage of students who have reported smoking cigarettes daily since 2001.

Definition:Percentage of students in grades 9-12 who smoked cigarettes on one or more of the past 30 days

Data Source: Texas Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System

Data Considerations: The Texas Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS) is a statewide survey of students. Sample sizes in this survey are not large enough to produce data specific to our community. The YRBSS survey is conducted biennially on odd numbered years.

% of students in Texas who Have smoked cigarettes within the past month by gender

Boys have been consistently more likely to report having smoked one or more cigarettes within the past month than girls over the past decade. In 2011, 21% of boys reported smoking within the last month compared to 14% of girls.

Definition: Percentage of students in grades 9-12 who smoked cigarettes on one or more of the past 30 days by gender

Data Source: Texas Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System

Data Considerations: The Texas Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS) is a statewide survey of students. Sample sizes in this survey are not large enough to produce data specific to our community. The YRBSS survey is conducted biennially on odd numbered years.

% of students in Texas who Have smoked cigarettes within the past month by race and ethnicity

Over time, Black youth have been the least likely to report being smokers while White youth have been the most likely to report being smokers. In 2011, 5% of Black youth reported being smokers compared to 6% of Hispanic youth, 10% of youth from other racial and ethnic minorities, and 13% of White youth.

Definition: Percentage of students in grades 9-12 who smoked cigarettes on one or more of the past 30 days by race and ethnicity

Data Source: Texas Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System

Data Considerations: The Texas Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS) is a statewide survey of students. Sample sizes in this survey are not large enough to produce data specific to our community. The YRBSS survey is conducted biennially on odd numbered years.

» % of Austin ISD Student Tobacco Use

% of AISD students who report having used tobacco within the last month

High school students are more likely to report having used tobacco within the last month than middle school students. The percentage of high school and middle school students who report having used tobacco within the last month has declined over the past five years. In 2012, 10% of high school students and 3% of middle school student report having used tobacco within the past month.

Definition: Percentage of students in high school and middle school in the Austin Independent School District that reported having used tobacco in the last month

Data Source: Austin Independent School District, Department of Program Evaluation

Data Considerations: This data is self-reported and may understate the actual tobacco use levels of AISD students.

» Children's Optimal Health Maps on Tobacco Use

Austin ISD Middle Schools: Percentage of students self-reporting tobacco use

This map provides two simultaneous representations of student self-reported behavior. Campus pie charts reflect the responses of students reporting tobacco use for that campus. Zip Code analysis reflects reported tobacco use within the past month, by the Zip Code of student residence. This allows understanding of student behavior by neighborhood, and can enable targeting of community intervention efforts to complement efforts at the school level to promote student health. In school year 2010-2011, 91% of students reported never using tobacco and 4% reported use in the past month. Among students reporting tobacco use in the pst month, there was a 1% increase over students reporting in the prior year. Higher concentrations of students reporting recent tobacco use occur especially among students living in the 78725 and 78701 zip codes.

Map showing Austin ISD middle schools and the percentage of students self-reporting tobacco use during the 2010-2011 school year

Definition: The campus pie charts relect the responses of student reporting tobacco use for that AISD campus during the 2010-2011 school year (never used/never heard of tobacco, used tobacco more than a year ago, used tobacco within the past year, or used tobacco within the past month). The zip code analysis shows the reported precentage of tobacco use within the past month by zip code for AISD students during the 2010-2011 school year.

Data Source: Data was collected by the Austin Independent School District. The map was created by Children's Optimal Health.

Data Considerations: This data is from Austin ISD's Student Substance Use Report which relies on students self-reporting of tobacco use. Students may not report using tobacco as freqently as use actually occurs. Data on tobacco use by campus does not necessarily reflect activity occuring on campus.

Austin ISD High Schools: Percentage of students self-reporting tobacco use

This map provides two simultaneous representations of student self-reported behavior. Campus pie charts reflect the responses of students reporting tobacco use for that campus. Zip Code analysis reflects reported tobacco use within the past month, by the Zip Code of student residence. This allows understanding of student behavior by neighborhood, and can enable targeting of community intervention efforts to complement efforts at the school level to promote student health. In school year 2010-2011, 77% of students reported never using tobacco and 13% reported use in the past month. Among students reporting tobacco use in the past month, there was a 1% decrease over students reporting in the prior year. Higher concentrations of students reporting recent tobacco use occur throughout the area, but especially among students living in the 78652 zip code.

Map showing Austin ISD high schools and the percentage of students self-reporting tobacco use during the 2010-2011 school year

Definition: The campus pie charts relect the responses of student reporting tobacco use for that AISD campus during the 2010-2011 school year (never used/never heard of tobacco, used tobacco more than a year ago, used tobacco within the past year, or used tobacco within the past month). The zip code analysis shows the reported precentage of tobacco use within the past month by zip code for AISD students during the 2010-2011 school year.

Data Source: Data was collected by the Austin Independent School District. The map was created by Children's Optimal Health.

Data Considerations: This data is from Austin ISD's Student Substance Use Report which relies on students self-reporting of tobacco use. Students may not report using tobacco as freqently as use actually occurs. Data on tobacco use by campus does not necessarily reflect activity occuring on campus.

vulnerable populations

turning the curve

The Imagine Austin Comprehensive Plan and the Tobacco Prevention & Control Strategic Plan for FY2012-2013 support the promotion of tobacco cessation programs for children and adults and the development of regulations to support tobacco-free environments.