As electronic cigarettes continue to help smokers find an alternative to tobacco, the CDC has released brand new data showing that smoking rates are now at a historic low. According to the latest data, the rate of smoking among American adults is now down to only 17.8 percent. This is a stark decrease from 2005 data that showed smoking rates at 20.9 percent.
Today’s smokers are quickly realizing the dangers of tobacco use and many are making the switch to electronic cigarettes in an effort to try a new tobacco-free way of life. In 2005, there were 45.1 million adult smokers in the United States, but that number is now down to only 42.1 million despite a steady growth in the overall population. Dr. Tim McAfee, director of the CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health, said we are on the right track to squelching tobacco use, but the battle is far from over. “There is encouraging news in this study, but we still have much work to do to help people quit,” McAfee said.
The most recent data offers a more detailed look at how smoking rates vary throughout the country and especially among different socioeconomic groups. As expected, smoking rates are higher among people living at or below the poverty line and smoking is more prevalent among those with lower education levels. Interestingly, the new data shows that smoking rates are higher among the lesbian, gay, and bisexual population.
Tobacco use also varies widely depending on geographic location. The western states have the lowest tobacco use at only 13.6 percent. However, the Midwest has the highest smoking rates at 20.5 percent and the south is trailing close behind with 19.2 percent.
Even though smoking rates are now at a historic low for America, it is still a major problem with an estimated 480,000 Americans dying each year from smoking-related causes. The CDC reports that smoking remains the leading cause of preventable disease and death in our nation. McAfee said the only way to change that is to continue fighting against tobacco use with methods that are already proving effective.
“We can bring down cigarette smoking rates much further, much faster, if strategies proven to work are put into place,” he explained. McAfee hopes to see more funding go to anti-tobacco programs in the coming year along with new smoke-free laws and harder-hitting media campaigns. Lastly, he wants to see continued price increases on tobacco products to make them less accessible to Americans.
Of course, it isn’t surprising that the CDC makes no link between the falling smoking rates and the rising number of Americans using electronic cigarettes. They are still painting ecigs as the enemy despite the fact that vaping has been the solution for many smokers that could not quit using other methods. Do you think ecigs are responsible for the quickly falling smoking rates in the United States?