A study released Monday shows that fewer Iowans are smoking than were two decades ago, but people in rural counties are slower to give up cigarettes.
The study, completed by professors at the University of Washington, shows five-percent fewer adults are smoking now compared to 1996.
Counties with the greatest decline include Dallas, Story, Scott, and Johnson. Those counties all contain larger cities.
Rural counties including Van Buren, Clarke, Wayne and Decatur are making progress, but they’ve seen the smallest decline.
Marcia Blain, an official with Clarke County Public Health, says she isn’t surprised by the numbers.
“There’s a higher poverty rate in the four counties I mentioned. It’s been more socially acceptable because of the heritage it’s come out of. I think it’s easier for kids in rural counties to start young,” says Blain.
According to the study, Story County has the lowest rate of smokers at about 14-percent. Pottawattamie County in western Iowa has the highest rate at around 30-percent.