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Cigarette Smoking Among Adults with Disabilities

Cigarette smoking kills almost one in five adults each year. In 2010, approximately 17% of deaths were from smoking.

Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States.

The percentage of adults who smoke cigarettes is higher among people with disabilities than people without disabilities.

Percentage of U.S. Adults who Currently Smoke Cigarettes by Disability Status, 2011

Percentage of U.S. Adults who Currently Smoke Cigarettes by Disability Status, 2011

Current cigarette smoking is significantly higher among adults with a disability (25.4%) compared to adults without a disability (17.3%).1

1 2011 National Health Interview Survey

Smoking & Adults with Disabilities

Disparities in Cigarette Smoking Among Adults with Disabilities Fact Sheet.

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Public Health Programs and Campaigns

Access to proven smoking cessation treatments and services and public information campaigns may significantly reduce health care costs and save the lives of people, including those with disabilities. Evidence shows that access to comprehensive tobacco control programs can reduce smoking rates, tobacco-related deaths, and diseases caused by smoking.

To reduce and prevent smoking among people with disabilities, public health programs can:

  • Include disability in public health surveys and research activities
  • Update existing health promotion campaigns or programs with targeted smoking cessation messages for people with disabilities
  • Include people with disabilities in health promotion activities
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What is CDC Doing to Reduce Smoking Among People with Disabilities?

CDC-funded State Disability and Health Programs are working to improve the health and wellness of people with disabilities by including them in health activities targeted at the issue of smoking. These programs demonstrate CDC’s effort:

The Illinois Disability and Health Program is providing assistance to the Tobacco Quitline at the Illinois Department of Public Health to enhance smoking cessation services for people with disabilities.

  • The highlights of the program include:
    • Adapting tobacco cessation materials for people with specific disabilities, including developing video logs with the deaf community.
    • Coordinating training for Quitline staff on appropriate communication with the deaf community and use of adaptive technology.

The Health Promotion for People with Disabilities initiative at the Michigan Department of Community Health is partnering with the Michigan Tobacco Program to enhance services for people with disabilities.

  • The highlights of the program include:
    • Developing trainings and materials that agencies can use to improve tobacco cessation service access and outreach to people with disabilities.
    • Educating a wide range of professionals who refer to the Michigan’s Tobacco Quit Line about materials and tools agencies can use to improve tobacco cessation program access and outreach to people with disabilities. The Quit Line receives over 5,000 calls annually, and approximately 30% of the callers are people with disabilities.

The New Hampshire Disability and Public Health Program is collaborating with the state’s Tobacco Prevention and Control Program to promote smoking cessation.

  • The highlights of the program include:
    • Training New Hampshire Tobacco Helpline counselors about the disparity in smoking rates between people with and without disabilities, the importance of health promotion for people with disabilities, and considerations for counseling people with various types of disabilities.
    • Developing educational materials about tobacco prevention (geared toward youth) and smoking cessation (geared toward youth and adults).

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