Strong link between smoking and church attendance

(Photo: Anissa Thompson)

People who do not attend church are three times as likely to smoke as those who attend weekly, according to a new Gallup poll.  

Among those who attend church once a week, just 12% said they smoke, compared to 88% who don't, while among those who never attend church, the percentage of smokers rises to 30%.  

The survey of over 350,000 American adults found that smoking decreases with age as religious service attendance increases, and that men are more likely to smoke but less likely to attend church. 

Smoking was also found to be lower among married Americans, while church attendance is higher.  

Mormons were least likely to be smokers (8%), followed by Jews (10%), Catholics (18%), Protestants (20%) and Muslims (23%).  Those with no formal religious identification were the most likely to be smokers (26%). 

Gallup said: "More generally, the impact of religiosity on likelihood to smoke, as measured by church attendance, extends across each religious group for the most part, although the pattern is less straightforward among Jewish Americans.

"Those within each major religious group who attend religious services weekly are less likely to smoke than those who never attend.

"Thus, even if the theology or normative structure of particular religions has some impact on one's likelihood to smoke, one's relative religiosity as measured by church attendance -- regardless of religion -- continues to have a significant impact."

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