Smoking Rates Falling Despite Growing Population


Cigarette Smoking Rate Among Adults in the United States  at Lowest Rate Ever RecordedCigarette Smoking Rate Among Adults in the United States at Lowest Rate Ever Recorded (Photo : Flickr / Morgan)

According to a study published this week by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the rate of cigarette smoking by adults in the United States has hit an all-time low rate, the lowest ever recorded actually.

At a rate of just under 18 percent, this study shows that we are seeing the lowest prevalence in cigarette smoking in this country since the CDC’s Nation Health Information Survey (NHIS) began keeping a tally on this and related data in 1965.

In terms of specific statistics, the data shows that the current rate of smokers is 17.8 percent, a significant fall from 2005 when the percentage of smokers was measured at 20.9. The report also reveals that in comparison to the 45.1 million smokers nationwide tallied in 2005, the number of adult American smokers today in the nation numbers approximately 42.1 million.

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“There is encouraging news in this study, but we still have much more work to do to help people quit,” Tim McAfee, M.D., M.P.H., director of the CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health said in a statement.

“We can bring down cigarette smoking rates much further, much faster, if strategies proven to work are put in place like funding tobacco control programs at the CDC-recommended levels, increasing prices of tobacco products, implementing and enforcing comprehensive smoke-free laws, and sustaining hard-hitting media campaigns,” McAfee continued.

The results of this study indicate that although smoking rates have indeed dropped substantially, there is a “significant” need still there to help those who continue to smoke.

Additionally, the study pointed out that cigarette smoking rates remain especially high among certain groups of people in the United States.

Specifically, these groups include: those living below poverty level, individuals who are “less educated” than their peers, Americans of multiple races, American Indians and Alaska Natives, males, the population of citizens living in the South and Midwest portions of the country, individuals with disabilities and those of homosexual or bisexual orientation, the CDC reports.

Cigarette smoking is reportedly the leading preventable cause of disease and death in the United States, killing over 480,000 citizens annually. In its report the CDC cites numerous surveys carried out by various institutions that show about 70 percent of all cigarette smokers say they want to quit. The CDC cites additional research demonstrating significant health benefits that are afforded to those who are able to quit successfully.

However, the CDC made sure to clarify that when it comes to quitting, it’s all or nothing.

“Though [we found that] smokers are smoking fewer cigarettes, cutting back by a few cigarettes a day rather than quitting completely does not produce significant health benefits,” Brian King, Ph.D., a senior scientific advisor with CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health said in  a statement. “Smokers who quit before they’re 40 years old can get back almost all of the 10 years of life expectancy smoking takes away.”


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