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Smoking and obesity play a large role in the early deaths of many women in Emporia, VA. Women there are likely to die nearly 10 years earlier than women in a wealthier county just a few hours north.

In Greensville County, where Emporia is located, women’s life expectancy is 75, compared with an average of 84 in Fairfax County, a suburb of Washington, D.C., a three-hour drive away. According to The Los Angeles Times, this disparity gives Virginia the dubious distinction of having the widest longevity gap of any state.

The smoking rate in the area is much higher than average for both the state and the country. Cancer deaths in Greensville County exceed the national average, with lung cancer ranked as the deadliest. State-of-the-art medical treatment is a 90-minute drive, the article notes. If women cut down on smoking and high-fat eating, it is often not until they already have become sick.

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