Tobacco use and exposure in rural areas: Findings from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System

Addict Behav. 2011 Mar;36(3):231-6. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2010.11.005. Epub 2010 Nov 10.


Evidence suggests that those residing in rural areas may be disproportionately affected by the health burden of tobacco use. The present study examined tobacco use, self-reported exposure to tobacco smoke, and policies regarding public smoking according to area of residence using data from the 2006 and 2008 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. Results indicated that, relative to those from suburban and urban locations, adults residing in rural areas were significantly more likely to smoke cigarettes (22.2% versus 17.3% (suburban) and 18.1% (urban), p<.001) and to use smokeless tobacco (p<.001). Rural residents were also more likely than those living in suburban and urban areas to report that someone had smoked in their presence during the past seven days both at home (p<.001) and at work (p<.001). Finally, rural participants reported policies that afforded less protection from tobacco smoke both at home and in the workplace. These findings suggest that those living in rural areas are at increased risk for tobacco-related illness due to both their own tobacco use and exposure to others' cigarette smoke.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Public Policy
  • Rural Health*
  • Smoking / epidemiology*
  • Social Environment
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution / statistics & numerical data*
  • Tobacco, Smokeless*
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Young Adult


  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution