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Missoula Measures - Tobacco Use

graph Smoking rate by state 2013


Why this topic?

Tobacco use is the single most preventable cause of death and disease in the United States.  Each year, approximately 443,000 Americans die from tobacco-related illnesses.  For every person who dies from tobacco use, 20 more people suffer with at least 1 serious tobacco-related illness.  In addition, tobacco use costs the U.S. $193 billion annually in direct medical expenses and lost productivity.  HP 2020

Tobacco use causes:

There is no safe level for use of any tobacco products.

There is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke. Secondhand smoke causes heart disease and lung cancer in adults and a number of health problems in infants and children, including:

Smokeless tobacco causes a number of serious oral health problems, including cancer of the mouth and gums, periodontitis, and tooth loss.

Cigar use causes cancer of the larynx, mouth, esophagus, and lung.

HP 2020

How we are doing

Nationally, we have seen significant reductions in cigarette smoking, from about 40% in 1965 to nearly half that 30 years later. The smoking rate is about the same in Missoula (22% +/- 2%) as it is in the state as a whole and the state rate of smoking has been holding steady for five years. The percent of teens now smoking regularly in Missoula is slightly less than the state as a whole, but represents a significant new population addicted to tobacco.

Healthy People 2020 Targets

  • Only 16% of adolescents smoke
  • Only 12% of adults smoke
  • Only 45% of the population is exposed to 2nd hand smoke
  • Only 1% of high school students use spit tobacco

Thirty-three states have outright bans on smoking in private worksites and restaurants, and 27 states have bans on smoking in bars, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nine of the 10 states with the lowest smoking rates have outright bans on smoking.

The Montana Adult Tobacco Survey of 2008 reports that 7 in 10 current smokers are either contemplating or preparing to quit.

12-20% of pregnant women smoke, putting themselves and their babies at risk. Over 1,000 babies in the U.S. die each year because their moms smoked while pregnant.


The rate of tobacco use in the US has been slowly declining, from 25% in 1997 to 21% in 2005. 

graph montana adult smoking rate and HP2020 goal

The method of collecting and evaluating data changed in 2011, so statistics prior to that are not directly comparable.

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Related Data

Youth tobacco use:

graph montana high school students tobacco use in past 30 days, 2000-2014

Montana Prevention Needs Assessment


According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention:

  • During 2011–2012, two out of every five children ages 3 to 11—including seven out of every ten Black children—in the United States were exposed to secondhand smoke regularly.
  • Among current U.S. adult cigarette smokers, nearly 7 out of every 10 (68.8%) report that they want to quit completely. 

More related data


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Montana Clean Indoor Air Act

In 2005, the state legislature passed the Montana Clean Indoor Air Act (CIAA) that prohibits smoking in all work places, public buildings, bars and casinos in the entire state.  As of June 2012, 21 states have similar laws

Montana Tobacco Use Prevention Plan 

Healthy People 2020 Targets - Increase the percent of :    
  Base Target
Women who do not smoke during pregnancy
89.4% 98.3%

12-20% of U.S. pregnant women smoke, putting themselves and their babies at risk. Over 1,000 babies in the U.S. die each year because their moms smoked while pregnant. Missoula Providence Health Services

Local agencies that address this issue

Tobacco Free Missoula County -

Montana Quit Line



Related websites

Tobacco Free Missoula County

Montana Tobacco Free Program

Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids

National BRFSS Trends Data

There are many websites addressing tobacco-related issues. The six sites listed below are some of the larger sites on tobacco issues and are good places to start.

American Cancer Society

American Heart Association - Getting Healthy

American Lung Association - news and links

Links to health data, statistics and information from many national sources.

Healthy People 2010 - extensive background on national public health status of this topic and many others.


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