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Smoking Rates In The U.S. Decline Below 20 Percent

Posted by Chrissie Cole
Friday, November 14, 2008 2:02 PM EST
Category: Major Medical
Tags: FDA and Prescription Drugs, Cigarette Smoking, COPD, Lung Cancer, American Cancer Society, Dangerous Products, Toxic Substances, Defective Products

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IMAGE SOURCE: © iStockPhoto / quit smoking / author: RobHadfield


For the first time since the mid-1960s, the number of Americans who smoke cigarettes has fallen below 20 percent, according to a new report.

In 2007, the prevalence of smoking fell to 19.8 percent, from 20.8 percent in 2006, according to a recent CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR).

“While this is good news, deaths related to cigarette smoking are still on the rise,” Matthew McKenna, director of the CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health tells WebMD. Nearly one in five American adults smoke cigarettes and many former smokers are falling back to the habit again.

The CDC report shows major strides are being made in the war on smoking, but harder battles still loom, said Tom Glynn, PhD, director of International Union Against Cancer (UICC).

According to the CDC, cigarette smoking has been steadily declining among Americans over 18 since it first began keeping track in 1965, when 42.4 percent of people smoked. In 1987 the proportion dropped below 30 percent for the first time to 28.8 percent.

“We believe the decline in proportion is threefold - a response to excise taxes that have made cigarettes more expensive, smoke-free laws and the availability of cessation medications,” McKenna says.

22.3 percent of adult males and 17.4 percent of adult women were smokers in 2007, says the CDC. They further say that 19.8 percent of African-Americans smoked in 2007 and 21.4 percent of whites.

Tobacco use and second-hand smoke is one of the biggest causes of preventable and premature death in the U.S. claiming the lives of more than 440,000 people each year. About 90 percent of cigarette smokers become addicted before the age of 19, according to the CDC.

The leading cause of cancer death is Lung cancer. The disease claims the lives of more than 157,000 American men and women annually. More people died each year from lung cancer than that of breast, prostate and colon cancers combined.

Quit Smoking

The single most valuable thing people can do for themselves is to quit smoking, McKenna says. Studies show that 30 to 40 percent of smokers attempt quitting, but chances of success are only 4 to 5 percent.

Toll-free counseling is available at 800-QUIT-NOW (800-784-8669), to help those ready to take the plunge and quit, says McKenna.

Other report findings include:

-- More than 43 million Americans smoke cigarettes.

-- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) death rates increased 8 percent from 2000 to 2005.

-- COPD mortality rates in women increased to 60,229 yearly between 2000-2004, up from 56,363 between 1997-2001. COPD deaths among men remained relatively the same at 58,000.

-- The three leading causes of smoking-related deaths are heart disease, lung cancer and COPD, McKenna tells WebMD.

-- The benefits for smokers successful in quitting are significant, which includes drastically reducing the risk of COPD and heart disease.

-- Five million years of potential life was lost as a result of exposure to tobacco smoke in 2000-2004. And $96.8 billion lost in yearly productivity.

-- The American Cancer Society fears many people, who quit, may again start smoking because they believe they are self-medicating for anxiety and economic difficulties.

-- Studies have shown, that smoking depicted in movies encourages teens to smoke. Also, non-smoking women are getting lung cancer at greater rates than non-smoking men, but researchers are not sure why.

-- Studies by the CDC and other groups reinforces, that “if we raise the tax on cigarettes and continue widening access to cessation treatments, prevalence will continue to decline,” says Glynn. #


2 Comments

Posted by jackie
Saturday, November 15, 2008 9:27 AM EST

Any drop in the number of people smoking has to be seen as great news!

Anonymous User
Posted by ma
Sunday, November 16, 2008 3:59 PM EST

that is a great improvement

Comments for this article are closed.

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