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Greater Cincinnati Region Lags Behind Nation in Tobacco Control Efforts, New Report Shows

Sep 4, 2019

More than 100 local health care and social service leaders gathered today to hear from a national expert about the changing landscape of tobacco use, which remains the single most preventable cause of disease, disability and death. The Greater Cincinnati Tobacco Summit was sponsored by Interact for Health.

The summit featured a keynote address from Brian King, Deputy Director for Research Translation at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Office of Smoking and Health. King covered the rise in use of e-cigarettes, particularly among youth, and what this means for public health.

Summit attendees also had a chance to hear from local and national partners about strategies to reduce tobacco use, including community-based approaches to quitting smoking, emergent tobacco research, the changing tobacco policy landscape and engaging community in marketing efforts.

Report provides new local data on tobacco and outlines what it means for region

During the summit, Interact for Health also released data from the first ever Greater Cincinnati Adult Tobacco Survey. Data from the 2018 survey show that progress on tobacco use in the region lags behind the nation.

In Greater Cincinnati, the survey found that 19% of adults—or 340,000 people—are current cigarette smokers; compared with 14% nationwide. The survey also examined use of other tobacco products, with 12% of Greater Cincinnati adults reporting that they currently use e-cigarettes; 8% currently use cigars or cigarillos and 5% use smokeless tobacco. With the emergence of new products such as e-cigarettes, the tobacco product landscape is evolving, presenting new challenges.

“If we want to create a healthier community, we can’t become complacent about tobacco,” said O’dell Moreno Owens, MD, MPH, President and CEO of Interact for Health. “We need to implement tobacco control strategies that have been shown to work, including policies such as smoke-free workplace laws and Tobacco 21, to reach out to communities with education about tobacco in culturally appropriate ways and to provide cessation support that is tailored to the individual’s needs. At Interact for Health, we have made reducing tobacco use one of our strategic priorities, investing up to $9 million over five years to protect our community from the harms of tobacco.”

The Greater Cincinnati Adult Tobacco Survey also examined the following:

  • Disparities: Progress in reducing tobacco use has not been experienced by all people, leading to poorer health outcomes. Groups that continue to be burdened at higher rates include people with lower incomes, young adults, African Americans and people living in rural Kentucky counties.
  • Culture: The deeply rooted culture of tobacco use in our community impacts why people start smoking and why they continue. In fact, 80% of adults reported that smoking is common in their community.

The survey report is available online at For more information about Interact for Health’s tobacco-related efforts and grant making, visit

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