County smoking rate below state average

MIAMI COUNTY — For years, health professionals and advocacy groups have been working to eliminate the number of smokers in the state.

For Miami County, the smoking rate is 18 percent.

Director of Public Health Dennis Propes said the smoking rate falls between Delaware County having the lowest percentage in the state at 12 and Meigs County having the highest percentage at 40.

The counties in Southeastern Ohio typically have higher smoking rates, which can be attributed to a multitude of factors.

“Culture plays a role,” he said. “If your parents or grandparents smoked or everyone around you smokes, and if you grow around a lack of information about the negative side effects of smoking or ignore that knowledge, you’re more than likely going to be a smoker.”

Recent data has shown that since 2004, smoking rates throughout the county have remained the same. The state average is 21 percent; typical rates in Miami County are 17 percent or a little less, although the 18 percent figure is fairly recent.

“Statewide, we’re not doing too terrible,” he said. “We’re on the low side of the curve there, which is how we’d want it to be. We would like to see that number go down to 12 percent by 2020.”

The Miami County Public Health is continuing to make strides against smoking. Propes said one of the nurses at MCPH recently became a certified to be a tobacco treatment specialist, which filled a gap for that service.

“Prior to that there were no certified tobacco treatment specialists in the county,” he said. “Anybody he wanted to seek services of that person would have to go down to Dayton or a couple of counties north.”

For smokers who are interested in meeting with the tobacco treatment specialist or getting help quitting, they are invited to contact the Miami County Public Health office at (937) 573-3505.