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The Burden of Tobacco in Ohio

Disparities Stat Shot Document (PDF)

This document identifies a non-exhaustive list of populations that have a tobacco-related disparity. Most disparate communities are also disproportionally targeted by the tobacco industry and/or have limited access to treatment and health care. It is because of this that these populations need to be a priority in tobacco prevention and control work.

How many people in Ohio are smoking?

  • 23.3 percent of adults in Ohio (over 2 million) are current smokers. Of these people, about 1.6 million smoke every day.1,2 
  • Ohio’s adult smoking rate is nearly double the Healthy People 2020 recommended target of 12.0 percent.1,3
  • Ohio’s adult current smoking prevalence rate is significantly higher than the US rate, which is 19.6 percent.1
  • 3.7 percent of Ohio middle school children currently smoke cigarettes (28,359 children).2,4
  • 15.1 percent of Ohio high school students currently smoke cigarettes (118,784 children).2,5

Who is currently smoking in Ohio?

  • Adult men smoke significantly more than women, at 25.4 percent vs 21.3 percent.1
  • African Americans smoke significantly more than whites, at 28.9 percent vs 22.4 percent.1
  • Over 4 in 10 adults living below the poverty level smoke (42.7 percent). Approximately 1 in 10 adults in households who have an income of over $75,000 smoke (10.0 percent).1
  • College graduates smoke significantly less than those who did not finish high school, 8.2 percent vs 42.5 percent.1
  • Nearly 1 in 3 young adults aged 25-34 smoke (31.4 percent). Only 1 in 10 residents over 65 are current smokers.1
  • Appalachian adults smoke more than metropolitan, suburban or rural, non-Appalachian county residents.6
  • In the Northeast Central area (Youngstown) and the Southeast area (lower Appalachia), approximately 1 in 3 adult residents smoke, 32.0 percent and 35.2 percent, respectively. These two regions have significantly higher smoking prevalence than all other regions.6

How does tobacco affect children's lives?

  • Over one in three Ohio middle school students (34.7 percent) were exposed to environmental tobacco smoke within the past week.4
  • In Ohio in 2012, at the middle school level, 3.7 percent of students currently used cigarettes, 2.5 percent used smokeless tobacco, 2.6 percent used cigars and 1.7 percent used pipes.4
  • In Ohio in 2012, among middle school students, 3.6 percent currently used snus or taboka, 1.5 percent had ever used dissolvables, and 3.4 percent had ever used a hookah or water pipe.4
  • Of middle school students in 2012, 7.7 percent reported that they had tried an e-cigarette, a large increase from 3.3 percent in 2010.4
  • Nearly 1 in 6 high school students currently use cigarettes (15.1 percent). This is on track with the adolescent benchmark of 16.0 percent in Healthy People 2020.3,5
  • Over 1 in 10 high school students use smokeless tobacco products (8.6 percent). This is higher than the Healthy People 2020 Benchmark of 6.9 percent.3,5
  • The percentage of high school students who currently use cigarettes or cigars or using chewing tobacco, snuff or dip decreased from 27.7 percent in 2003 to 21.7 percent in 2013.5 This is approaching the Healthy People 2020 adolescent benchmark of 21 percent.3 The current use of emerging tobacco products such as e-cigarettes in high school students requires further assessment.

Health and monetary costs

  • Approximately 17,700 Ohio adults die each year from their own smoking.7
  • In Ohio, health care costs directly caused by smoking have been estimated to total $5.64 billion annually. Of this number, $1.4 billion is covered by the state Medicaid program.7
  • Smoking-caused productivity losses in Ohio are estimated to total up to $4.85 billion per year.7


  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance System, Year 2012.
  2. U.S. Census Bureau, Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2012 (131st Edition) Washington, DC, 2011.
  3. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Healthy People 2020.
  4. Ohio Youth Tobacco Survey, 2012.
  5. Youth Risk Behavior Survey, Years 2013.
  6. Ohio Medicaid Assessment Survey, 2012.
  7. The Toll of Tobacco in Ohio, Tobacco Free Kids, 2014.


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Page Updated: 1/22/2018