CHICKASHA — The rate of increase in life expectancy in Grady County between 1985 and 2010 was in the lowest 10 percent of U.S. counties, according to a study by the University of Washington Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.
The study looked at the counties' prevalence of smoking, obesity and activity level.
The life expectancy for females in Grady County was 78.7 and 73.6 for males in 2010, but the 0.6-year decrease in life expectancy for women and 2.2-year increase for males put the county in the bottom 10 percent of counties for rate of change in life expectancy because the national average was a 3-year increase for females and a 5.2-year increase for males, according to the study.
Grady County's percentage of smokers was 27.6 percent, which puts the county in the bottom 25 percent of counties.
Tobacco-Free Grady County Coalition Program Coordinator Breanna Russell said rural areas, like much of the county, tend to have higher rates of tobacco use.
Russell said her organization refers people to the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline at 1-800-784-8669, which puts people with a coach who provides the caller with a plan to quit and nicotine replacement therapy.
The coalition also encourages cities in the county to adopt tobacco ordinances for their property and parks and school districts to become 24/7 tobacco free zones, she said.
Currently, state law requires schools to ban tobacco products on school grounds between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m., according to www.ok.gov.
Russell said Tuttle has adopted a ban of tobacco products on city property and parks, and three school districts in the county, Chickasha, Rush Springs and Bridge Creek, have adopted a tobacco-free policy.
In 2011, 26.1 percent of adults in Oklahoma smoked cigarettes, with a national median of 21.2 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Russell said tobacco use contributes to cancer and lung disease, which can affect life expectancy.