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Poll: People Who Skip Church More Likely To Smoke

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File photo of a person lighting a cigarette. (Photo by ERIC FEFERBERG/AFP/Getty Images)

File photo of a person lighting a cigarette. (Photo by ERIC FEFERBERG/AFP/Getty Images)

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ATLANTA (CBS Atlanta) – A Gallup Poll conducted throughout 2012 indicates that those who do not attend church are far more likely to be smokers than those who attend services regularly.

“Smoking in the U.S. is highly correlated with religiosity, with those who never attend church almost three times as likely to smoke as those who attend weekly,” a press release on the poll’s findings stated. “This relationship holds even when controlling for demographic characteristics associated with smoking and church attendance.”

The gap between smokers and nonsmokers in regards to religious practicing was large no matter the frequency of a given poll participant’s church attendance. However, those who were the most devout – reporting church attendance at least once a week – were the least likely to light up.

In all, 88 percent of the most frequent church attendees were nonsmokers, and only 12 percent confessed to lighting up once services were done. Numbers were similar for those who went to church almost ever week as 86 percent of that crowd abstained from smoking, while 14 percent did not.

Those involved in the Gallup Poll noted several possible reasons for the difference in behaviors between religious and non-religious people.

“It is possible that the act of smoking in some way causes people to be less religious. This could occur, for example, if smokers are ostracized or less welcome in religious settings,” researchers noted in the release. “It is also possible that an additional factor such as mental state or an addictive personality causes certain individuals to be more likely to smoke while at the same time causing them to be less religious.”

Smokers, be they religious or not, should be concerned about meeting their Maker sooner. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, smoking accounts for approximately 440,000 deaths each year in the United States alone.

“More deaths are caused each year by tobacco use than by human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), illegal drug use, alcohol use, motor vehicle injuries, suicides, and murders combined,” the Centers noted on their official website.

A reported 353,571 interviews were conducted during polling, which collected information factored into the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index.

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