Over the past several decades, the U.S. has seen marked declines in smoking, due in part to increased education and cessation efforts.

Even recent history shows significant improvements: Smoking rates among U.S. adults decreased from 20.9 percent in 2005 to 15.1 percent in 2015, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But for all the progress achieved, low-income people continue to smoke at disproportionately high rates compared with the general population. For Americans whose incomes fall below the federal poverty threshold, rates of smoking still hold at more than one-quarter of the group.

The tobacco industry has had a strong influence on low-income people and cultural norms surrounding smoking, targeting low-income communities with heavy marketing and engaging in other deceptive tactics to keep people hooked on tobacco. Meanwhile, many low-income people who smoke reside in communities in which public health efforts aimed at cessation have not made as much of an impact or effectively reached people who most need resources to quit.

To continue reading this story from the October 2017 issue of The Nation’s Health, visit the newspaper online.