CDC: Smoking rates decrease, but challenges remain

By | 2021-05-28T12:26:21-04:00 September 12th, 2011|0 Comments

Fewer American adults are smoking cigarettes and daily smokers are smoking fewer cigarettes a day, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The report, which covers data from 2005 to 2010, shows an estimated 19.3% — or 45.3 million — of American adults ages 18 and older continue to smoke, a decline from 20.9% in 2005. Of those adults who smoke, 78.2% (35.4 million) smoke every day.

The percent of U.S. adult daily smokers who smoke nine or fewer cigarettes per day rose to 21.8% in 2010, up from 16.4% in 2005. The percent who smoke 30 or more cigarettes per day fell from 12.7% to 8.3% during the same period.

“Any decline in the number of people who smoke and the number of cigarettes consumed is a step in the right direction,” CDC Director Tom Frieden, MD, MPH, said in a news release. “However, tobacco use remains a significant health burden for the people of the United States. You don’t have to be a heavy smoker or a long-time smoker to get a smoking-related disease or have a heart attack or asthma attack. The sooner you quit smoking, the sooner your body can begin to heal.”

Although data from CDC’s National Health Interview Survey show fewer American adults are smoking, the rate of the decline between 2005 and 2010 is slower than in the previous five-year period.

“This slowing trend shows the need for intensified efforts to reduce cigarette smoking among adults,” Tim McAfee, MD, MPH, director of the CDC Office on Smoking and Health, said in the news release.

“We know what works – higher tobacco prices, hard-hitting media campaigns, graphic health warnings on cigarette packs and 100% smoke-free policies, with easily accessible help for those who want to quit. These approaches are proven to decrease smoking and reduce the health burden and economic impact of tobacco-related diseases in the United States.”

Tobacco use remains the nation’s leading preventable cause of death and disease. Tobacco use and exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke kill an estimated 443,000 Americans each year. For every one smoking-related death, another 20 people live with a smoking-related disease.

In addition to the loss of human life, smoking costs about $193 billion annually in direct healthcare expenses and lost productivity, according to the CDC. Tobacco control programs that have been proven to reduce smoking also have been proven to reduce the healthcare costs directly related to tobacco use.

The report appears in the CDC’s monthly release, Vital Signs:


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