Area has 9th lowest rate of adults who smoke in the U.S.

Southwestern Connecticut has one of the lowest rates of smokers in the nation, according to data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Exactly 10 percent of adults in the Bridgeport-Stamford Metropolitan Statistical Area – which lines up perfectly with the outline of Fairfield County – reported that they were current smokers in 2010, landing the area in the Top 10 for lowest rates of smokers.

Nationally, the median rate of adults who smoke is 17.3 percent; of all 192 metro areas analyzed by the CDC, Tuscaloosa, Alabama has the highest percentage of adults who smoke, with 28.5 percent lighting up. Provo-Orem, Utah has the lowest percentage, with 5.8 percent of adults identifying as smokers.

Here’s a peek at the 10 metro areas with the lowest percentage of adults who smoke:

And the 10 metros with the highest rate of smokers:

But there are several levels of smokers to take into consideration: the pack-a-day people; the once-in-a-while puffers; the used-to-smoke folks; and the never-tried-it population.

Nationally, 12.4 percent of Americans smoke every day, but in Southwestern Connecticut, the rate is less than half that, with 6.1 percent of residents smoking every day. That low rate ties Fairfield County folks with Del Rio Texas and San Francisco, California for the ninth lowest rate of daily smokers in the nation.

The rates for overall smokers, as well as daily and sometimes-smokers have all decreased significantly since the state instituted its ban on smoking in public places in 2004. For instance, in 2003, before the ban was instituted, 17.8 percent of the state’s adults smoked, compared to 10 percent today. And 12.4 percent of adults smoked daily, which is more than twice the rate of daily smokers today.

Maggie Gordon