Health News

Smoking Declines: CDC Reports Record Low

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have announced that the number of Americans who smoke has dramatically fallen.  Tobacco smoking is the number one cause of preventable deaths in the United States, resulting in appoximately 480,000 premature deaths and over $300 billion in health care expenditures each year.

The percentage of adults in the United States who smoke cigarettes went down from 20.9% in 2005 to 16.8% in 2014.  The CDC’s statistical observations found that the prevalence of cigarette smoking was higher among men, adults aged 25–44 years, multiracial people and American Indian/Alaska Natives, people who have a GED certificate, live below the federal poverty level, are insured through Medicaid or are uninsured, live in the Midwest, have a disability or limitation, or are lesbian, gay, or bisexual.

Interventions that have been proven to work in population-based studies include comprehensive smoke-free laws, tobacco price increases, high-impact mass media campaigns including ads on television and the internet, and barrier-free access to quitting assistance.  Such interventions are critical to reducing cigarette smoking and thereby reducing smoking-related disease and death among American adults.

Data from the 2014 National Health Interview Survey show that 27.9 percent of uninsured adults and 29.1 percent of Medicaid recipients currently smoke.  By contrast, 12.9 percent of adults with private insurance and 12.5 percent of those on Medicare currently smoke.

People over age 65 are the least likely to smoke.

Last year, smoking hit a 50-year low.

Our tremendous progress shows that we know how to win the fight against tobacco. Proven solutions must be fully implemented across the nation, including higher tobacco taxes, strong smoke-free laws, well-funded tobacco prevention and cessation programs that include mass media campaigns, and comprehensive, barrier-free health insurance coverage for smoking cessation treatments.

It’s not clear that products such as e-cigarettes are helping people quit.  Research has not shown evidence that they are contributing to these decreasing numbers.

The Department of Urban Housing and Development has announced that they will be enforcing non-smoking policies in their developments.  They plan to ban smoking in all of their publicly-funded houses or apartments, offices and outdoor areas in their developments.

“In addition to protecting non-smokers, smoke-free public housing policies would encourage smokers living in affected properties to quit smoking,” said Chris Hansen, president of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network.

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