CDC: About 42.1 Million Adults Smoke in the United States

Rates higher among males, the young, poor, and those living in the South or Midwest

FRIDAY, Jan. 17, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- In the United States, approximately 18 percent of adults still smoke, according to a report published in the Jan. 17 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Israel T. Agaku, D.M.D., from the CDC in Atlanta, and colleagues analyzed data from the 2012 National Health Interview Survey to estimate the smoking prevalence among adults aged ≥18 years.

The researchers found that in 2012 there were approximately 42.1 million U.S. adults who were current cigarette smokers. The proportion of smokers fell from 20.9 percent in 2005 to 18.1 percent in 2012. Smoking prevalence was significantly higher among males than females (20.5 versus 15.8 percent). Smoking was also more common among younger people (aged 18 to 24, 17.3 percent; aged 25 to 44, 21.6 percent; and 45 to 64, 19.5 percent, compared to 8.9 percent among those 65 and older). Among persons living below the poverty level, the smoking prevalence was also significantly higher (27.9 percent, versus 17.0 percent for those living at or above this level). The South and Midwest had significantly higher smoking rates compared to other regions (19.7 and 20.6 percent, respectively, versus 14.2 percent [the West] and 16.5 percent [the Northeast]).

"Proven population-level interventions, including tobacco price increases, high-impact anti-tobacco mass media campaigns, comprehensive smoke-free laws, and barrier-free access to help quitting, are critical to decreasing cigarette smoking and reducing the health and economic burden of tobacco-related diseases in the United States," the authors write.

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