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CDC Reports Cigarette Smoking Reaches Historical Low

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There’s a lot to give thanks for this time of year, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has given us another reason. The organization’s latest 2017 numbers are in, and 14 percent of adults reported cigarette smoking “every day” or some day,” which is the lowest percentage ever recorded, according to a story in Healio.

The new data from the 2017 National Health Interview Survey is down a percent and a half from 2016’s numbers and amounts to a whopping 67 percent decrease since 1965. One in five adults reported using “some kind of tobacco product” as well. Additionally, the CDC’s summary shows a “particularly notable decline” among young adults aged 18 to 24. Ten percent of them reported smoking cigarettes in 2017, a 13 percent decline from the previous year.

Teresa Wang, Ph.D., of the office on smoking and health at the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, CDC and colleagues wrote, “Although cigarette smoking among U.S. adults has declined considerably, tobacco products have evolved in recent years to include various combustible, noncombustible, and electronic products.”

A CDC press release reported that smoking cigarettes and other combustible tobacco products contribute to 480,000 deaths annually in America and is “the most common preventable cause of death and disease in the United States.”

CDC Director Robert Redfield, M.D., also weighed in on the recent low in a release: “This new all-time low in cigarette smoking among U.S. adults is a tremendous public health accomplishment — and it demonstrates the importance of continued proven strategies to reduce smoking. Despite this progress, work remains to reduce the harmful health effects of tobacco use.” National Cancer Institute Director Norman E. Sharpless, M.D., said that cigarette smoking has been the leading cause of cancer mortality for more than half a century in the U.S. Eliminating smoking would “eliminate about one-third of all cancer deaths.” He continued on to say, “The persistent disparities in adult smoking prevalence described in this report emphasize the need for further research to accelerate reductions in tobacco use among all Americans.”

The CDC’s research also uncovered where remaining tobacco use was the most prevalent:

  • uninsured (31 percent), insured by Medicaid (28.2 percent) or received some other public insurance (26.8 percent)
  • non-Hispanic American Indian/Alaska Native (29.8 percent), multiracial (27.4 percent), white (21.4 percent) or black adults (20.1 percent)
  • lesbian, gay or bisexual adults (27.3 percent)
  • widowed, separated or divorced (23.1 percent)
  • single, never married or not living with a partner (21 percent)
  • adults who have general education development certificates (42.6 percent)