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U.S. Cigarette Smoking Rate Reaches All-Time Low

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U.S. Cigarette Smoking Rate Reaches All-Time Low

Anya Yang, Staff Writer

According to a report released Thursday, cigarette use among American adults is at the lowest it’s ever been since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) started collecting data in 1965. “Cigarette smoking has reached unprecedented lows, which is a tremendous public health win, down to 14% from over 40% in the mid-1960s,” explained senior author of the report and deputy director for research translation at the CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health Brian King.

Of the five types of tobacco recorded in the study, there was a dramatic decline in the use of combustible tobaccos like cigarettes, cigars, and pipes. Smokeless tobacco products like dips and snuff sharply declined as well. 14% of Americans are still smoking cigarettes, with 3.8% smoking cigars, and 2.8% using nicotine-based e-cigarettes. From the study, it was also revealed males have a higher prevalence of tobacco use than females, and the highest age group for smoking was among those between 25-44 (22.5%). Mid-westerners and Southerners also smoke more than people in the Northeast and West.

At the start of the 1970s, four out of ten Americans still reported smoking or using tobacco products, but the rate had fallen to 36% by 1977. In 1989, the rate fell below the 30% mark for the very first time. The next two decades continued having a relatively stable tobacco rate, with a quarter of Americans saying they smoked. In the 2000s, the smoking levels continued to slowly decrease, especially in cities and states that passed public smoking bans. In 2013, the percentage of Americans that smoked cigarettes fell to below 20%, where it has remained until the most recent reading of 14%.

“Initiatives like raising the price of tobacco, educating consumers on the dangers of smoking and efforts to help people quit are the primary drivers behind the decline,” said King. Less young people are starting to smoke, others are quitting, and old smokers are dying, according to the demographics shown in the study.

Now, nearly 4% of adults use two or more tobacco products, with cigarettes and e-cigarettes representing the most common combination. It wasn’t clearly explained whether people are initially using both to switch from cigarettes to e-cigarettes, but officials warn that smokers must fully switch in order to cut the risks.

“It’s critical that we not only modernize our strategies in terms of population but also modernize our interventions to be sure that we are capturing the full diversity of tobacco products that the American public is using,” King said.


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U.S. Cigarette Smoking Rate Reaches All-Time Low