In an effort to identify information gaps and disseminate tools and resources that address tobacco and cancer health disparities, the Geographic Health Equity Alliance (GHEA) just released the first in a series of one-page fact sheets. The first fact sheet focuses on the Black Belt region of Alabama.
The region is known for little or no economic opportunities, high levels of unemployment and low levels of educational achievement. Such economic and social conditions have been irrefutable linked to higher rates of smoking and use of other tobacco products, as well as a shortage of facilities to treat cancer.
Highlights from the research guide include:
- The majority of the population within the Alabama Black Belt counties are insured under Medicaid (over 90% in each census block group).
- The Black Belt’s median household income (at the block group level) ranges from less than $3,542 to $69,070.
- The Black Belt’s racial composition in not very diverse – it is comprised of predominately Black of African American people.
High school students who have ever used a tobacco product, by product:
- Cigarettes: 44.6%
- Smokeless tobacco: 20.7%
- Cigars: 30.2%
- Bidis or kreteks: 4.8%
- Pipe: 13.3%
- Any product: 53.2%
Cancer center facts:
- There are 78 total ‘all services’ located in Alabama, 13 of them being comprehensive programs. 39 ‘all services’ are located within the Black Belt. Of 39, 0 are comprehensive programs and six are treatment centers.
- Montgomery, the state capital, second largest city in the state, and largest city in the Black Belt, is the region’s only major concentration of ‘all services’.