Objectives: We developed a method to evaluate geographic and temporal variations in community-level risk factors and prevalence estimates, and used that method to identify communities in Massachusetts that should be considered high priority communities for smoking interventions.
Methods: We integrated individual-level data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System from 1999 to 2005 with community-level data in Massachusetts. We used small-area estimation models to assess the associations of adults' smoking status with both individual- and community-level characteristics and to estimate community-specific smoking prevalence in 398 communities. We classified communities into 8 groups according to their prevalence estimates, the precision of the estimates, and temporal trends.
Results: Community-level prevalence of current cigarette smoking among adults ranged from 5% to 36% in 2005 and declined in all but 16 (4%) communities between 1999 and 2005. However, less than 15% of the communities met the national prevalence goal of 12% or less. High smoking prevalence remained in communities with lower income, higher percentage of blue-collar workers, and higher density of tobacco outlets.
Conclusions: Prioritizing communities for intervention can be accomplished through the use of small-area estimation models. In Massachusetts, socioeconomically disadvantaged communities have high smoking prevalence rates and should be of high priority to those working to control tobacco use.