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Am J Public Health. 2005 Jun;95(6):1036-42.

Smoking in 6 diverse Chicago communities--a population study.

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  • 1MRE, Sinai Urban Health Institute, K438, Mount Sinai Hospital, California Ave at 15th St, Chicago, IL 60608, USA.



We analyzed smoking survey data across communities in Chicago, Ill, to explore community-level variations in smoking behavior.


We conducted a health survey of 6 racially and ethnically diverse Chicago communities during 2002-2003. The survey included questions about current smoking, smoking history, and cessation attempts.


Smoking prevalence varied from 18% in the wealthiest (predominately White) community to 39% in the poorest (predominately Black) community. In a contiguous pair of communities, one Mexican and the other Black, smoking prevalence varied by a factor of 2. Men, residents in poorer households and households without telephones, and residents with less education were most likely to smoke.


The high proportions of current smokers who had attempted to quit indicate a prevalent desire to stop smoking. However, less than 4% of the Master Tobacco Settlement Agreement funds are being spent on smoking prevention, or even on health in general, in Illinois. Although much is known about the prevalence of smoking at the national level, few studies of smoking have been done at the community level, presenting difficulties for the allocation of resources and the design of smoking cessation programs in response to community needs. Understanding community-level smoking rates could improve the allocation of resources and assist the shaping of culturally meaningful prevention efforts.

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