Tuesday, December 23, 2008


Durham is a community that owes much of its heritage to tobacco in the days after the Civil War up to the late-80’s when American Tobacco closed. When I moved here in 1989, you could still smell the sweet aroma of tobacco curing at Liggett, the one remaining factory that closed many years ago (smells like newly mown hay).

Today, the old brick warehouses are reborn as shops, restaurants, offices, condos, and apartments. The CDC, pouring over City and County data, finds that the Durham, NC MSA, a four-county area with Durham at its core, is the 5th most smoke-free MSA in the nation as published by US News & World Report.

Durham is more smoke-free than the Salt Lake City, UT MSA, even though it is home to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and a large of portion of the population is predisposed by faith not to smoke. Durham is more smoke-free than Raleigh-Cary, where some residents delight in putting Durham down to North Carolina newcomers as a tobacco town.

And it isn’t just a New South thing, 8 of the 10 smokiest MSA’s are in the south, three in North Carolina led by the Greensboro, NC MSA at 4th smokiest.

Durham doesn’t run from its past, but it definitely is leading most communities into the future with an economy now based on healthcare, education, research, pharma-manufacturing, and biotech.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That's great news! Funny that NC has represents both ends of the smoking spectrum.