America is Up In Smokes

Prevalence of smoking is slowly declining

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Tobacco use is the most preventable cause of death in the United States, yet so many Americans choose to continue day after day. The rates are slowly declining, but by how much?

Smoking can cause a number of health problems like heart disease, multiple types of cancer, pulmonary disease, problems with reproduction and worsen chronic diseases. It’s no wonder almost 443,000 people die each year from smoke-related illnesses. Researchers found out how many Americans are still involved in this bad habit.

"Put the smoke out – it’s not good for you."

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) helps monitor the prevalence of smoking to know the extent of tobacco use. The researchers from CDC used the 2010 National Health Interview Surveys (NHIS) and 2010 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) survey. The study included 27,157 respondents who were at least 18 years old.

The researchers found that the number of smokers declined from 2005 to 2010 by 1.6 percent. After adjusting for population changes, this decline indicates there would’ve been three million less smokers if the prevalence continued in 2005. While this is a definite plus and brings the nation closer to the Healthy People 2010 goals, there are still problems that need to be addressed.

Smoking still remains widespread where almost one in five Americans smoke regularly. Of this smoking population, 78.2 percent smoke daily and 21.8 percent smoke sometimes. The researchers also found that people who smoke one to nine cigarettes daily increased from 16.4 percent to 21.8 percent and the sometime-smokers declined from 12.7 percent to 8.3 percent.

The researchers also noticed the decline from year to year was not steady. There was a decline from years 2006 to 2007, but none in 2007 to 2008. With this current rate, America will not meet the Healthy People goal of having a smoking prevalence of less than 12 percent.

Prevention and interventions for tobacco use is still necessary to help the nation reach their goal by 2020. Researchers can use this data to target specific races, gender and even age groups. According to the World Health Organization, some effective strategies include increasing the price of tobacco products, starting smoke-free laws in work places and public areas, spreading awareness of the dangers of tobacco and enforcing restrictions on advertisements, promotions and sponsorships of tobacco use.

This observational study was reported on September 6, 2011 in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
September 8, 2011
Last Updated:
September 13, 2011