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by Jimmy Hafrey

American Smoking Rates Hit All Time Low

According to a new round of data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, smoking rates are now at the lowest point ever in modern American history. The CDC found that smoking rates are down to only 17.8 percent among American adults, drastically falling from 20.9 percent in 2005. Of course, experts aren’t giving credit for the major decline to electronic cigarettes, but vaping activists know that ecigs have been the magic ticket for many smokers, allowing them to finally kick the tobacco habit after other methods repeatedly failed.

In 2005, a reported 45.1 million American adults were smokers, but the latest data shows the number has now fallen to 42.1 million, even though the population of the United States is steadily growing. Dr. Tim McAfee, director of the CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health, praised the progress we are making as a nation, but urged anti-tobacco advocates to continue their efforts. “There is encouraging news in this study, but we still have much work to do to help people quit,” McAfee said.

The recent reports show that smoking rates are highly varied throughout the population and various regions of the country. Smoking is much more prevalent among people living in poverty as well as those with lower education levels. Researchers also discovered that smoking rates were much higher among people that identify as lesbian, gay, or bisexual.

The Midwest states currently have the highest smoking rates, totaling 20.5 percent, followed closely by the South with 19.2 percent. Rates are lowest in the westernmost regions at just 13.6 percent.

Despite the rapid decline in cigarette use, smoking is still the leading cause of preventable diseases and death in the country. An estimated 480,000 Americans die each year from smoking-related causes. McAfee said the smoking rates need to come down much further before we see a big difference in these scary health statistics. “We can bring down cigarette smoking rates much further, much faster, if strategies proven to work are put into place,” he explained. McAfee suggests funding additional tobacco control programs, adding new smoke-free legislation, expanding media campaigns, and increasing the prices of tobacco products.

The CDC also reported that current smokers are reducing their overall cigarette consumption. Among today’s current smokers, around 76.9 percent report smoking everyday, a figure down from 80.8 percent in 2005. Daily smokers report using an average of 14.2 cigarettes daily compared to 16.7 cigarettes daily in 2005.

So what is the real cause for this sudden drop in tobacco use? Is it merely the anti-tobacco media campaigns that are finally getting results or could the fast rising success of electronic cigarettes be a more important contributing factor?

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