A new survey conducted by the CDC has found that smoking rates continue to drop among American adults. Only a little over 15 percent (15%) of all US adults are currently smokers.
Even more impressing, this means that that the number of smokers has decreased by almost 17 percent (17%) since 2014. The pattern is not new however as this decline became visible back in 2010 and surprised researchers after they were unable to find any change in smoking habits for the previous ten (10) years.
Patricia Folan, Center for Tobacco Control director at North Shore-LIJ Health System (Great Neck, New York), has a few theories for why this may be happening. For one, tobacco taxes have kept rising in recent years, making people reconsider the amount of money that they spend on the vice.
But the increasing number of harsh anti-smoking ads and the increasing number of laws that ban both indoor and outdoor smoking have also been shown to contribute to the positive change.
Folan said that many smokers, even hard-core smokers, have told her that “When I can’t smoke here, I can’t smoke there, when people see me smoke they look at me like I’m a pariah — it makes me want to not smoke anymore”.
The survey conducted by the researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is an annual event that looks at a multitude of public health issues. It’s titled “The National Health Interview Survey” and it shows that the national smoking rate has come a long way since 1965, when 42 percent (42%) of American adults were smokers.
The research team did mention that many field experts expressed concern between the years of 2004 and 2009 when the smoking rate refused to drop below 20 percent (20%). Some even theorized that that there may be no way to convince this minority to quit the unhealthy habit.
But Thomas Carr, national policy director for the American Lung Association, is happy to report that the current smoking rates indicate that today’s anti-smoking messages are getting through to people and that responsible parties have to do “more of the same” in order to reach the remaining 15 percent (15%).
Carr agreed with Folan that smoke-free laws which ban indoor and outdoor smoking in the United States have made a tremendous difference. However, he was also sad to report that North Dakota was the only state to pass any comprehensive smoke-free laws in the past five (5) years, and that the country still has 22 states that have yet to pass any bans on indoor and / or outdoor smoking.
Carr stressed that if these remain states would join the effort, they would not only help reduce the current smoking rate even farther, but they would also “protect more people from secondhand smoke”.
He also believes that the US Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) intent to regulate other smoking products (cigars, electronic cigarettes, hookahs) will also help reduce the number of current smokers.
The findings were published earlier this week, on Tuesday (September 1, 2015) by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
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