MIAMI – While nearly 16 percent of Floridians are hooked on cigarette smoking, the addiction continues to affect Florida's rural counties the most, according to a new report.
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute teamed up for the County Health Rankings report.
Tobacco use, including the use of electronic cigarettes, was among the top factors the report ranked in Florida. Its use remains the leading cause of preventable death, according to researchers.
"In many communities across our state, smoking and exposure to second-hand smoke are accepted as a fact of life, but they don't have to be," said Kellie O'Dare Wilson, Tobacco Free Florida's bureau chief.
The new report's data shows the counties in Florida where most people smoke were Gadsden, Hardee, Madison, Okeechobee and Union. About 21 percent of adults smoked there.
According to the report the rates in South Florida were among the lowest in the state. The rates in Monroe, Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties ranged from 12 to 15 percent. Palm Beach had the least smokers.
The Florida Department of Health's Tobacco Free Florida was focusing their resources on the areas of the state that researchers ranked higher. Tobacco Free Florida's Quit Your Way program offers free services to help smokers quit.
Click on the map to view the state's cigarette smoking rates: