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Community Health Data Base
An Information Service of the Philadelphia Health Management Corporation

Wednesday. November 2, 2011

Contact: Nikki Reen (267.295.3859 or


PHILADELPHIA—In the United States, at least one-third of all cancer deaths are directly linked to cigarette smoking.* Of those, lung cancer remains the most common type of cancer among smokers.* But in addition to cancer, there are a plethora of chronic diseases to which smokers are prone, including emphysema, stroke and heart disease. Researchers have found that quitting smoking significantly decreases these health risks in the short and long term. As November 17th  marks the 36th annual Great American Smokeout, a national event sponsored by the American Cancer Society that encourages smokers to quit, Public Health Management Corporation’s Community Health Data Base released an overview of current smoking habits as well as attempts at smoking cessation among adults 18 years and older in Southeastern Pennsylvania. “Through releasing this data in November, we wanted to commemorate the Great American Smokeout and also emphasize the gravity of the smoking epidemic,” says Sarah Ingerman, a research assistant at PHMC. 

Through the 2010 Southeastern Pennsylvania (SEPA) Household Health Survey, a random telephone survey of over 10,000 households in the five-county SEPA region of Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia Counties, CHDB collected the following information about the profile of smokers in Southeastern Pennsylvania and smoking cessation.

 Smokers in Southeastern Pennsylvania

 One in five (20.2%) adults ages 18 and over in SEPA are current smokers, representing approximately 608,000 people in the region. Additionally, one in ten (9.8%) children lives in a household where someone smokes inside the home, representing approximately 93,000 children. The more education adults have, the less likely they are to be current smokers. Almost two-fifths (38.5%) of adults with less than a high school diploma are current smokers compared with 28.6% of high school graduates, 23.4% of adults with some college education, 12% of adults with college degrees and 6.5% of adults with post-college education.

 The Household Health Survey showed health disparities between smokers and non-smokers. One quarter (25.2%) of adult smokers residing in SEPA report fair or poor health compared with 13.9% of non-smokers. Smokers also report an increased stress level. About two-fifths of adult smokers (38.4%) report being under extreme amounts of stress in the past year compared with 22.4% of adults who do not smoke.

Smokers are more likely to experience health problems than non-smokers and also have more limited access to health care.  Nearly one in six adult smokers (16.1%) do not have health insurance compared with 7.5% of adults who do not smoke. Additionally, more than one in ten adult smokers (12.4%) do not have a regular source of health care compared with 9.7% of adults who do not smoke.

Smoking Cessation in Southeastern Pennsylvania

Over half of the current adult smokers (57.7%) in SEPA report trying to quit smoking in the past year, representing about 350,000 people. The majority of adult smokers (61.1%) attempted to quit without assistance. Assisted methods of quitting include non-nicotine prescription medications Chantix™ and Zyban®, used by 10.4% of those who tried to quit; nicotine-based patches, gum, inhalers or lozenges, used by 19%; and a combination of other methods, used by 9.5%.

To access the full findings on smoking and cessation in Southeastern Pennsylvania, contact  Sarah Ingerman or 267.350.7695.


* American Cancer Society. Cigarette Smoking, 2011. Web. 20 October 2011.

About CHDB

Public Health Management Corporation’s Community Health Data Base Household Health Survey is one of the largest regional health surveys in the country. The Pew Charitable Trusts, William Penn Foundation, United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania, United Way of North Penn, CIGNA Foundation, Green Tree Community Health Foundation, Philadelphia Foundation, North Penn Community Health Foundation, the Thomas Scattergood Foundation and over 350 local agencies from the health, government, nonprofit and academic sectors help to support CHDB. To view previous data news releases, please click here. For more information, please visit


About PHMC

Public Health Management Corporation (PHMC) is a nonprofit public health institute that creates and sustains healthier communities. PHMC uses best practices to improve community health through direct service, partnership, innovation, policy, research, technical assistance and a prepared workforce.  PHMC has served the region since 1972.