I wonder if our rate has gone up or gone down?
I saw a statistic released yesterday by the Centers for Disease Control showing that the smoking rate in the US has gone down to 14% overall. It's the lowest rate in history, and a sign that people are finally realizing that there is nothing at all good about exposing yourself and others to cancer-causing chemicals.
Maybe there's a little hope for the world yet.
About a decade ago I was curious about Marquette County's smoking rate (I think for a “What's Up, UP” question), and in the course of research found that Marquette County had the lowest smoking rate in the entire state. Back in 2007, Marquette County's smoking rate was at 14%, which is what the rest of the country is at now. So in the past 11 years, has Marquette County's rate dropped even further, or were we just a decade (and change) ahead of our time?
I'd be curious to know.
I know people still smoke in Marquette County. Trust me, I know that for sure—every so often we have a contest winner come in to pick up a prize reeking so strongly of cigarette smoke that we have to open our doors just to air out our lobby. I don't know if those listeners are aware they smell that bad, or if they're just nose-blind, but it's bad. Really, really bad. So I do know that some people in Marquette County still smoke.
I also know that a lot of temporary residents and tourists smoke, as well. As I wrote about last May, there was a marked decrease in the amount of people I saw smoking the few weeks after NMU let out for the year. So a chunk of the people in Marquette County who smoke aren't from here (and, trying hard not to stereotype, I noticed that a lot of those who do smoke have out of state license plates on the cars near which I noticed them).
Spending a lot of time walking around downtown Marquette, you notice that some—not a lot, but some—of the people visiting us are puffing away, too. In fact, Loraine and I have a running gag going that if we see someone smoking on the sidewalk, it's most usually a tourist, especially when they blow smoke in the direction of passers-by.
Yoopers just seem too gosh darned polite to do that.
But overall, I have no idea how many residents of Marquette County still smoke. I have no idea if we still have the lowest tobacco usage rate in Michigan, or if we've just settled in amongst the pack. Maybe I'll have to do a little more digging; if any of you know, please share. No matter what, though, it's nice to see that the country as a whole has decided that smoking sucks.
Something that people around here started realizing and putting into practice over a decade ago.