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Smokers Are Smoking Less

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Dr. Levister

Fewer American adults are smoking cigarettes, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Also, daily smokers are smoking fewer cigarettes each day, it says. Data from 2005 to 2010, shows an estimated 19.3 percent—or 45.3 million—of American adults, aged 18 and older, continue to smoke, a decline from 20.9 percent in 2005. Of those adults who smoke, 78.2 percent (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 percent in 2010, up from 16.4 percent in 2005. The percent who smoke 30 or more cigarettes per day fell from 12.7 percent to 8.3 percent 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. However, tobacco use remains a significant health burden for the people of United States,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H.

“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,” said Dr. Frieden. “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. Higher tobacco prices, graphic health warnings on cigarette packs, and 100 percent smoke–free policies, with easily accessible help for those who want to quit, and hard hitting media campaigns appear to be delivering the message that smoking kills.

Tobacco use remains the leading preventable cause of death and disease in the United States. 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 health care expenses and lost productivity. Tobacco control programs that have been proven to reduce smoking also have been proven to reduce the health care costs directly related to tobacco use.

Smokers can get free resources and help quitting by calling 1–800–QUIT–NOW (784–8669) or visiting www.smoke free.gov.

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