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CDC Report: U.S. Smoking Rates Drop to Historic Lows

Only 18% of Americans smoke cigarettes (January 17)

The Jan. 17 edition of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report provides national estimates of smoking prevalence among U.S. adults aged 18 years or older, based on data from the 2012 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS).

The findings indicate that the proportion of U.S. adults who smoke cigarettes fell from 20.9% in 2005 to 18.1% in 2012. Moreover, during 2005–2012, the percentage of ever smokers who quit increased significantly (from 50.7% to 55.0%), and the proportion of daily smokers who smoked 30 or more cigarettes per day declined significantly (from 12.6% to 7.0%).

In 2012, smoking prevalence was significantly higher among men (20.5%) than among women (15.8%) and among persons aged 18 to 24 years (17.3%), 25 to 44 years (21.6%), and 45 to 64 years (19.5%) than among those aged 65 years or more (8.9%).

By U.S. Census regions, smoking prevalence was significantly higher in the Midwest (20.6%) and South (19.7%) than in the Northeast (16.5%) and West (14.2%).

According to the report, proven population-level interventions, including tobacco price increases, high-impact anti-tobacco mass media campaigns, comprehensive smoke-free laws, and barrier-free access to help quitting, are critical to decreasing cigarette smoking and to reducing the health and economic burden of tobacco-related diseases in the U.S.

Source: CDC; January 17, 2014.

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