People in Some Geographic Areas Encounter Barriers to Quitting Successfully
Most people who smoke want to quit, and more than half of them try to do so each year.20 People who live in rural areas may have less access to quitting resources, or face more barriers when trying to quit than people in urban areas.3
- Anti-tobacco messages can increase smoking cessation and prevent tobacco use initiation, but youth in rural areas are less likely than urban youth to see or hear anti-tobacco messages in the media.3,40
- One study conducted in a large Midwest health system found that patients who smoked and were seen at an outpatient clinic in a rural area were nearly three times less likely to receive smoking cessation treatment than those seen at an urban area clinic.41
- In 2015, more adults who smoked and lived in the Northeast reported receiving advice to quit smoking from a health care provider than those living in the South or West.20
Connecting every person who wants to quit with treatment proven to help them quit for good is important for improving people’s health.
Provide barrier-free, widely promoted coverage for all evidence-based cessation treatments by all types of health insurance.
For example, as of 2018, only 15 state Medicaid programs fully covered tobacco cessation (quitting) services for all enrollees in traditional Medicaid.43
Integrate clinical screening and treatment for commercial tobacco* use in all health care settings and with all types of patients.
Community health centers and low-cost health clinics serve people who are more likely to use commercial tobacco products.44,45 Talking to people about commercial tobacco use and quitting as a regular part of health care visits in these settings will help make sure that all people can get effective treatment to help them quit.
Increase access to culturally tailored cessation services.
When it comes to health issues, one size does not fit all. Different people and communities have varying needs and make decisions in different ways. For example, people in rural areas tend to use more smokeless tobacco, like dip or chew, which may require different quitting strategies than cigarettes. Treatment services also might need to be provided virtually, online, or through mobile clinics that can visit remote, rural areas.
Share health messages that reach people in geographic areas with the highest tobacco use and in rural areas.
Mass media campaigns are proven to increase smoking cessation, prevent tobacco use initiation, and reduce the prevalence of tobacco use.1,20 Anti-commercial tobacco messaging and mass media campaigns, like CDC’s Tips From Former Smokers® (Tips®), are effective in reaching many groups. Such campaigns can help to reduce geographic disparities in commercial tobacco use and exposure by connecting people to treatment resources.
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- American Lung Association. Cutting Tobacco’s Rural Roots: Tobacco Use in Rural Communities [PDF – 3 MB]. Chicago: American Lung Association; 2015 [accessed 2022 Mar 22].
- Croft JB, Wheaton AG, Liu Y, et al. Urban-Rural County and State Differences in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease – United States, 2015. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2018;67(7):205-211 [[accessed 2022 Mar 22].
- Harrington RA, Califf RM, Balamurugan A, et al. Call to Action: Rural Health: A Presidential Advisory From the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association. Circulation. 2020;141(10):e615-e644 [accessed 2022 Mar 22].
- Singh GK, Williams SD, Siahpush M, Mulhollen A. Socioeconomic, Rural-Urban, and Racial Inequalities In US Cancer Mortality: Part I—All Cancers and Lung Cancer and Part II—Colorectal, Prostate, Breast, and Cervical Cancers. Journal of Cancer Epidemiology. 2011 [accessed 2022 Mar 22].
- Moy E, Garcia MC, Bastian B, et al. Leading Causes of Death in Nonmetropolitan and Metropolitan Areas — United States, 1999–2014. MMWR Surveill Summ 2017;66(No. SS-1):1–8 [accessed 2022 Mar 22].
- United States Census Bureau. Health Insurance in Rural America. 2019. accessed 2022 Mar 22].
- Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on Health Insurance Status and Its Consequences. America’s Uninsured Crisis: Consequences for Health and Health Care. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2009 [accessed 2022 Mar 22].
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- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Smoking Cessation. A Report of the Surgeon General [PDF – 9.8 MB]. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2020 [accessed 2022 Mar 22].
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