Index: Health / Subcategory: Alcohol Tobacco & Other Drugs

Adult Tobacco Use

Date Updated: 08/16/2011

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cigarette smoking causes about 1 in 5 deaths in the United States each year. Research has shown that smoking is the leading risk factor for heart disease, which happens to be the leading cause of death in the United States. Evidence also suggests that exposure to secondhand smoke can result in adverse health effects, including heart disease in nonsmoking adults.

In 1998, Colorado joined 45 other states in settling lawsuits against the nation's major tobacco companies to recover tobacco-related health care costs. In 2008, Colorado received $103.6 million in Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) funding as a result of this lawsuit. However, as of 2005, MSA dollars are no longer used to fund tobacco prevention and cessation programs. Those dollars are now being used to fill budget shortfalls and on unrelated programs.

According to Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, 'the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that Colorado spend $54.4 million a year to have an effective, comprehensive tobacco prevention program. Colorado currently allocates $7.0 million a year for tobacco prevention and cessation. This is 12.9% of the CDC's recommendation and ranks Colorado 27th among the states in the funding of tobacco prevention programs. Colorado's spending on tobacco prevention amounts to 2.4% of the estimated $296 million in tobacco-generated revenue the state collects each year from settlement payments and tobacco taxes.'

Colorado received an 'F' grade for tobacco prevention control and spending, according to the American Lung Association's 2010 report, State of Tobacco Control. Per this same report, Colorado received an 'A' for passing laws that restrict smoking in public places; a 'D' for the low excise tax on cigarettes (84 cents per pack); and an 'F' for cessation programs.

The following data are collected and reported by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. The Colorado Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) is an ongoing statewide telephone survey designed to monitor the prevalence of health behaviors and preventive health practices associated with the leading causes of disease, disability, and premature death. The number of surveys completed each year is relatively low. For this reason, two years of data are combined to produce more stable estimates.

What this chart shows: Current Smokers in Colorado & Larimer County, 2003-04 to 2009-10

Current Smokers in Colorado & Larimer County, 2003-04 to 2009-10

Data Source: Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment-COHID- Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System

See data table

What the above data tell us:

Survey respondents were asked "Do you currently smoke cigarettes?" In the last eight years, neither Colorado nor Larimer County has met the Healthy People 2010 objective of reducing the number of adult smokers to 12% or less.

Fort Collins' Smoking Ordinance, approved in 2002, prohibited smoking in city buildings, public places, places of employment, and within 20 feet of the entrance to any smoke-free establishment. On July 1, 2006, the Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act became effective, banning smoking in virtually all indoor public places in Colorado. Secondhand smoke contains over 4,000 chemicals, 50 of which are known to be cancer-causing.

What this chart shows: Current Smokers by Gender in Larimer County, 2003-04 to 2009-10

Current Smokers by Gender in Larimer County, 2003-04 to 2009-10

Data Source: Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment- Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System

See data table

What the above data tell us:

Men in Larimer County are more likely to be smokers than are women, although the gap has been narrowing.

Fort Collins' Smoking Ordinance, approved in 2002, prohibited smoking in city buildings, public places, places of employment, and within 20 feet of the entrance to any smoke-free establishment. On July 1, 2006, the Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act became effective, banning smoking in virtually all indoor public places in Colorado. Secondhand smoke contains over 4,000 chemicals, 50 of which are known to be cancer-causing.

What this chart shows: Current Smokers by Age Group in Larimer County, 2009-10

Current Smokers by Age Group in Larimer County, 2009-10

Data Source: Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment- Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System

See data table

What the above data tell us:

The age group with the highest percentage of smokers is young adults between the ages of 18 and 24 (23%), followed by those between 45 and 54 years of age (22%).

Additional Information:

Related Information on COMPASS -

Other Resources -

Standards or Targets:

Healthy People 2010 Objectives:

27-1: Reduce tobacco use by adults to 12%.
27-13: Establish laws on smoke-free indoor air that prohibit smoking or limit it to separately ventilated areas in public places and worksites.
27-21: Increase the average Federal and State tax on tobacco products to $2 per pack.

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Data Tables:

Current Smokers - Colorado & Larimer County

Larimer County

Colorado

Total surveyed

Percentage who smoke

Total surveyed

Percentage who smoke

2003-04

528 18.1% 9,972 19.3%

2005-06

775 18.8% 11,927 18.8%

2007-08

1,493 13.5% 23,335 17.8%

2009-10

1,125 16.8% 23,239 16.5%

See chart

Current Smokers by Gender in Larimer County

Females

Males

Total surveyed

Percentage who smoke

Total surveyed

Percentage who smoke

2003-04

315 15.1% 213 21.0%

2005-06

469 16.4% 306 21.4%

2007-08

899 13.1% 594 13.9%

2009-10

667 15.8% 458 17.8%

See chart

Current Smokers by Age Group In Larimer County, 2009-10

Total surveyed

Percentage who smoke

18-24 years

22 22.8%

25-34 years

75 18.6%

35-44 years

173 17.4%

45-54 years

242 21.6%

55-64 years

284 12.5%

65+ years

329 5.6%

See chart