Virginians have the best lung health in the U.S., and Fairfax County has the best lung health in Virginia, according to new data.
The Lung Institute, a source for pulmonary information for better lung health, including disease prevention and management, commissioned a national study to establish a ranking of lung health across the nation, over a five-year period.
The analysis factored in the change in smoking rate in each state, as well as the change in pollution level as measured by “PM2.5,” the average daily density of fine particulate matter in micrograms per cubic meter.
The Old Dominion experienced a 5-percent decrease in smoking rates over 5 years and had a decline in PM2.5 (-5).
Following Virginia in the ranking were Colorado, Tennessee, Delaware and Washington state. At the bottom five (from 46th place to 50th) were Missouri, Maine, Oregon, Oklahoma and Texas.
In Virginia, Lancaster County finished behind Fairfax County to take the No. 2 spot, followed by Albemarle, Henrico and Loudoun counties rounding out the top five.
Among other Northern Virginia jurisdictions, it was a mixed bag. Arlington placed 10th, Prince William 39th and Falls Church 59th. Alexandria, however, was dead last in 133rd place.
Smoking is one of the key contributors to poor lung health, both for smokers and those exposed to second-hand smoke.
“If you’re looking to kick the habit, it’s never too late to stop smoking cigarettes if you have a positive mindset and the correct resources,” said Christine Kingsley for The Lung Institute. “There are various methods that can help you on the path to quitting, and every individual is different. If you are struggling to ditch the habit, seek advice and assistance from your physician, who can provide support as well as resources to help you along the way.”