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7/21/2013 6:00:00 AM
Mohave County residents love their tobacco
Twenty-four percent of Mohave County adults smoke, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services.
Twenty-four percent of Mohave County adults smoke, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services.

Suzanne Adams-Ockrassa
Miner Staff Reporter

KINGMAN - Getting more people to kick their smoking habits to the curb may be one of the fastest ways to improve the health of Mohave County residents.

The Community Health Profile for Mohave County, a recent health study by Kingman Regional Medical Center and the Mohave County Department of Public Health, ranks smoking as one of the leading causes of preventable disease and death in Mohave County residents.

According to the Arizona Department of Health Services, Mohave County ranked third in the state for the most smokers per capita in 2011 with 24 percent of the adult population. The two counties with the highest number of residents who smoke were La Paz with 38 percent and Santa Cruz with 26 percent.

All three counties have rates that are much higher than the national adult average of 21 percent and the state average of 19 percent.

"High rates of smoking, alcohol use and obesity are certain to lead to debilitating diseases, infirmities and premature death in Mohave County," the Community Health Profile states.

Smoking has been linked to lung cancer, heart disease, stroke, emphysema, chronic bronchitis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

According to the Community Health Profile, the leading causes of premature death in Mohave County are: heart disease, cancer (particularly lung cancer) and chronic lower respiratory diseases, such as emphysema, chronic bronchitis and COPD.

"The death rate from COPD in Mohave County is alarmingly high and most certainly attributed to the large number of smokers in the community," the health profile states.

According to the study, approximately 100 people will die from the disease for every 100,000 people in Mohave County. The county has a population of more than 200,000 people.

Statewide around 49 people for every 100,000 residents will die from COPD. Arizona has population of more than 6.5 million.

Mohave County's rate of lung cancer is also particularly high, according to the Community Health Profile.

Approximately 83 people for every 100,000 people living in Mohave County between 2005 and 2009 developed lung cancer, according to the study.

During that same time period, 55 people for every 100,000 in Arizona and 67 people for every 100,000 in the U.S. developed the disease.

"Over 85 percent of lung cancers are caused by smoking," the Community Health Profile states. "Lung cancer is the leading cause of death in men and the second leading cause of death in women in Mohave County."

Adults also pass on their smoking habits to their children.

According to the Mohave County Community Profile for the 2012 Arizona Youth Survey, approximately 35.8 percent of the more than 2,000 8th, 10th and 12th graders in the county surveyed have smoked at least one cigarette in their lifetime and 14.8 percent have smoked one or more cigarettes in the last 30 days. The average age a student in Mohave County takes his or her first puff on a cigarette is 12.5.

In comparison, 29 percent of students those three grades across the state reported that they have smoked at least one cigarette in their lifetime and 13 percent in the last 30 days. Statewide, the average age a student takes their first puff is around 13.

Students also recognize the risks of smoking, with 82 percent in Mohave County saying that people who smoke one or more packs of cigarettes daily are at "moderate or great risk of harming themselves."

Mohave County students have a better assessment of those risks than their statewide peers. According to the 2012 Arizona Youth Survey, 65 percent of students statewide said that people put themselves at risk by smoking.

The number of students using cigarettes is trending down, according to both youth studies. In 2010, 34 percent of students in the state reported having tried cigarettes and 14 percent reported smoking within the last 30 days. The same year, 36.5 percent of students in Mohave County reported trying cigarettes and 15 percent reported smoking in the last 30 days.

But quitting tobacco isn't easy. According to the Arizona Department of Health Service's Tobacco Free Arizona webpage, it usually takes more than eight tries before someone can truly quit.

ADHS offers free telephone and web-based help through the Arizona Smokers' Help Line. The line offers free live support from former smokers and free plans to quit smoking. In some cases, people who want to quit may be eligible for free stop smoking aids such as patches and gum.

The ASH Line has an iPhone app, "Call It Quits." The app allows people to use the contacts in their phone to create a support group and text for help when they're feeling a craving for a cigarette.

Local help is available through the Mohave County Tobacco Use Prevention Program.

For more information, visit or call (888) 454-4924 and chose opt. 2. MCTUPP can be reached by calling the Mohave County Public Health Department at (928) 753-0794.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Wednesday, July 24, 2013
Article comment by: Amaryllis Smith

Oh My Goodness, We are all going to die of something someday-What everyone should concerned with is are you ready? Are you right with God, Have you ask Jesus into your heart and life?

Posted: Wednesday, July 24, 2013
Article comment by: Doing Research

So, here's some missing information that probably skewed the results:

From the CDC, national averages

Smoking stats:
Race/Ethnicity Cigarette Smoking Rate
American Indian/Alaska Natives (Non-Hispanic) 31.5%
Asians (Non-Hispanic) 9.9%
Blacks (Non-Hispanic) 19.4%
Hispanics 12.9%
Whites (Non-Hispanic) 20.6%

Education Level Cigarette Smoking Rate
Less than high school 25.5%
GED 45.3%
High school graduate 23.8%
Some college 22.3%
Associate degree 19.3%
Undergraduate degree 9.3%
Postgraduate degree 5.0%

Income Status Cigarette Smoking Rate
Below poverty level 29.0%
At or above poverty level 17.9%

Conclusion - low-income and low-education groups have higher incidence of smoking, and Mohave, La Paz, and Santa Cruz all rank in the bottom 5 counties for average income in AZ.

Also, when looking at all of Mohave Co., the Haulipai reservation should be looked at to see how much it affects the average.

Posted: Tuesday, July 23, 2013
Article comment by: talk about the paper

Forget about the chemicals in the tobacco. Production grade cigarette rolling paper contains over 250 industrial chemicals all by itself.

Most same as in tobacco. However, the asbestos, and many other flame retardents will baffle your mind.

How did you think they make that cigarette burn so slow and even all the way to the butt?

So, at least switch over to a good natural rolling paper found at smoke shops. Roll your own and cut your industrial disease chances in half.

Thank my lucky stars I never could tolerate smoking tobacco. I tried to be cool like all my buddies....Which are now all dropping at an outragous rate.

My roommate has used the electronic cigarette lasting sucess from cigarettes. Try it. Please.

Posted: Tuesday, July 23, 2013
Article comment by: Gringo Arizona Vaping Advocate

My father-in-law and fishing buddy passed away in 2007 from a massive heart attack after using chantix to quit smoking. My dad was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2009 and passed away this past March 2013 from complications of stage4 lung cancer after smoking for over 65 years.

I was a smoker for 28 years.

In January 2013 I was feeling the effects of my 28 years of smoking. In my infinite wisdom I decided that I can either buy another carton of cigarettes or pay a little bit more for an electronic cigarette and give it an honest try.

I bought a small refillable kit (ego clone) from a head shop because I didn't know any better. With very little effort, pain, panic or stress, I quit smoking overnight. The rest is history.

E-cigarette Start: Feb 06, 2013
Last cigarette: Feb 06, 2013

E-cigarettes are a better option for Tobacco Harm Reduction. Nicotine doesn't cause cancer. Over 4000 chemicals in a regular cigarette is what's causing cancer. E-cigs are definitely a better way of life.

Before you start to flame me in replies, I believe e-cigs should not be sold to minors. If a kid is not old enough to buy cigarettes then they should not be able to buy e-cigarettes or shisha. The American Lung Association is fighting to keep the sale to minors legal. To keep the cycle of new patients going I suppose.

The vaping community has been an awesome support group. I support e-cigarettes and will promote it,

Posted: Tuesday, July 23, 2013
Article comment by: Focus On Real Problem

I agree with AZ Mac. You'd think with all the personal individual control that is being advocated (soon to be forced on us), the government would exercise more control over the big business food production, food additives, pesticides, air quality, water quality, product quality from overseas, FDA monitoring and enforcement, etc. that is affecting our health even more drastically.

Posted: Tuesday, July 23, 2013
Article comment by: az mac

In the 40s and 50s almost all smoked and there was very little of the so called smoking diseases around. Then in the late 60s when our air and water got so polluted all theses diseases started showing up. I only knew one person with cancer growing up an it was bone cancer an it was cured. I knew no one with allergies, today it seems most people have allergies or some major disease.
The government gets much money to waste from smokers an the bans have helped destroy property rights, business an jobs.

Posted: Tuesday, July 23, 2013
Article comment by: I have A Question

If a pregnant woman smokes should she be charged with child abuse?

Quick Google search:

Increased risk of miscarriage
Increased risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
Premature birth
Low birth weight
Behavioral problems ( hyperactivity)
Reduced verbal and mathematical ability Your baby is more likely to die before birth.

• Smoking can cause placenta previa (Dangerous situation where the placenta covers the cervix.)

• It can cause a placental abruption (Where the placenta separates from the wall of the uterus denying all oxygen to your baby.)

• It increases your risk of a preterm birth. Babies born too early can suffer more breathing problems and have long hospital stays.

• It increases the chances of your baby learning difficulties as a child.

• There is a higher incidence of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS or crib death) in babies born to mothers who smoked or who are exposed to second hand smoke after birth.)

Now we even know that babies who have been exposed to smoking in the womb, even second hand smoke, have more genetic defects.

Posted: Monday, July 22, 2013
Article comment by: N A

This problem in not only in Mohave county. One thing that almost no one mentions is that smoking causes skin wrinkles due to oxygen being cut off from the blood supply while smoking, people specially women will pay more attention if you mention the hazards of looks rather than health

Posted: Monday, July 22, 2013
Article comment by: Sorry For Smokers

I feel really sorry for smokers. Almost every smoker I know would quit if it wasn't so hard. Help them. Don't judge.

Posted: Sunday, July 21, 2013
Article comment by: What's In A Cigarette?

There are approximately 600 ingredients in cigarettes. When burned, they create more than 4,000 chemicals. At least 50 of these chemicals are known to cause cancer, and many are poisonous.

Many of these chemicals are also found in consumer products, but these products have warning labels. While the public is warned about the danger of the poisons in these products, there is no such warning for the toxins in tobacco smoke.

Here are a few of the chemicals in tobacco smoke, and other places they are found:
Acetone – found in nail polish remover
Acetic Acid – an ingredient in hair dye
Ammonia – a common household cleaner
Arsenic – used in rat poison
Benzene – found in rubber cement
Butane – used in lighter fluid
Cadmium – active component in battery acid
Carbon Monoxide – released in car exhaust fumes
Formaldehyde – embalming fluid
Hexamine – found in barbecue lighter fluid
Lead – used in batteries
Napthalene – an ingredient in moth balls
Methanol – a main component in rocket fuel
Nicotine – used as insecticide
Tar – material for paving roads
Toluene - used to manufacture paint

Posted: Sunday, July 21, 2013
Article comment by: julies mom julies mom

As an x-smoker, I think this article probably is far too late and far too little to alleviate the problems associated with smoking in this community...those who don't appreciate being told how "bad they stink", how "little respect for their fellow human being while smoking" or "that their rights are being taken away" probably haven't witnessed friends or loved ones taken by COPD, emphysema, cancer or heart disease and who live in denial from what smoking can do to a persons body or appearance (especially women) will never stop smoking. Education in early years of the consequences surrounding smoking, is probably the only answer, but there will always be those that think "it won't happen to them", nothing can ever be done about this attitude, except to see them fade away earlier than most. I have been smoke free for many years now, but without a doubt, it was one of my finest moments...and it took 4 times!

Posted: Sunday, July 21, 2013
Article comment by: gun owner 000

Smoking tobacco has always been referred to as the "Red Man's Revenge". Smoking, chewing, and sniff have probably maimed or killed more people than the last few wars we had. In fact, if most people knew what chemicals were in tobacco, they probably wouldn't smoke (well, they would, carefully)
Smoking is a habit that is addicting as heroin or any other dangerous drug. The only thing that sets it apart from dangerous drugs is the fact that it's still legal. On a good note the smokers eliminate the problem themselves. It's a shame they don't teach their offspring as well.

Posted: Sunday, July 21, 2013
Article comment by: Joker Wilde

Many local bubbas who have enough money to buy cigarettes can't afford to buy food. Odd, eh? At least we can be thankful that you can't buy cigarettes with food stamps.

Posted: Sunday, July 21, 2013
Article comment by: Hmmm What about it?

"High rates of smoking, alcohol use and obesity are certain to lead to debilitating diseases, infirmities and premature death in Mohave County," the Community Health Profile states.
The above written statement in this article should serve as notice to anyone obese or drinks alcohol….YOU are next on societies campaign to insist you live your life by THEIR dictates.
So, after they are successful in the very expensive and relentless campaign to convince the rest of society to ostracize smokers they will turn on the next ‘problem’ people that are supposedly causing all of society’s ills, which will be either obese people or alcohol drinkers.
After those people are taken care of I suppose it’s not such a leap to realize that we, as a society have allowed any group of people who don’t approve of something you do to bully you into complying with THEIR ideal lifestyle.
Watch out bungee jumpers, sky divers, motorcycle riders, rock climbers, surfers, skiers, not to mention these cars we all drive are extremely dangerous! Not to worry though, I’m sure if your rich enough you will be allowed to be chauffeured around by a licensed ‘professional’ driver.

Posted: Sunday, July 21, 2013
Article comment by: Just a Thought

It would be nice to see more people stop smoking. As a none smoker I am saddened by what it cost me because of others bad choices. Example as I was driving by KMC noticing an older gent smoking out front and to my surprise a oxygen bottle in tow. With this said lets talk about lowering the cost of Medicare. First, if you smoke you don't get treated for its affects. Second, if you have diabetes and are over weight you get no treatment until you loose that weight. Third, you can't walk because of a bad knee. It will be replaced once you loose that 100lb that is causing most of the problem. I hear a lot of folks complain about the cost but it is not a problem when it directly affect them. Lets be fair live with what you have created for yourself.

Posted: Sunday, July 21, 2013
Article comment by: Al DiCicco

Thanks for pointing out the obvious. I do not smoke and I have COPD. How about investigating the high Aluminum, Barium, and Strontium in out rain and blood of patients and also the fall out from Fukushima? Investigative reporting, remember? Who, what, where, when, why.

Posted: Sunday, July 21, 2013
Article comment by: Marla Kiriakidis

If people choose to smoke, so be it. But when you can't walk into a building without walking through a cloud of smoke, then its interfering with MY choices. As a asthma sufferer I do my best to stay away from smokers. But yesterday, Saturday, I had to run the gauntlet to get into the grocery store. An older man stood right in front of the doors smoking. Guess he's not too good figuring out how far 20 feet is. But I find it much harder to get into my place of employment. We aren't allowed to enter throught the front door, so I have no choice but to walk by 20 or so people smoking. Funny how the "choice" to kill yourself and others with cigarette smoke is okay, but telling those same people to pay for their own health care costs is "bad".

Posted: Sunday, July 21, 2013
Article comment by: Rick O'Shea

One can always tell when the Miner needs some filler for the paper by bringing up something controversial.

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