Number of the day: 14.8%

NJ Spotlight | June 21, 2010

These days, most New Jerseyans would say they live in a smoke-free environment, yet 14.8 percent of the state’s residents (about 980,000 people) are cigarette smokers, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That statistic ranks New Jersey third best in the nation, behind Utah and California, and much better than the national median of 18 percent. Our youth do not stack up quite as well—New Jersey ranks eighth—but only 9.1 percent of kids between 12 and 17 are smokers. At the other end of the age spectrum, only 7.5 percent of those 65 or older smoke. More men smoke than women (17.4 percent vs. 12.3 percent). The higher the education achieved, the more likely people are to eschew tobacco: 21.6 percent for folks who didn’t graduate from high school, 11.8 percent for those with at least some college. Native Americans (23.1 percent) and African-Americans (18.8 percent) are more likely to smoke than Hispanics (14.4 percent) or Asians (6.7 percent).