ATLANTA -- The cigarette smoking rate among adults in the United States dropped from 20.9% in 2005 to 17.8% in 2013, according to new data published by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) in the Morbidity & Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR).
That is the lowest prevalence of adult smoking since the CDC's National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) began keeping such records in 1965. The report also shows the number of cigarette smokers dropped from 45.1 million in 2005 to 42.1 million in 2013, despite the increasing U.S. population.
"There is encouraging news in this study, but we still have much more work to do to help people quit," said Tim McAfee, director of the CDC's Office on Smoking & Health. "We can bring down cigarette smoking rates much further, much faster, if strategies proven to work are put in place like funding tobacco control programs at the CDC-recommended levels, increasing prices of tobacco products, implementing and enforcing comprehensive smoke-free laws and sustaining hard-hitting media campaigns."
Cigarette smoking levels remain especially high among certain groups, most notably those below the poverty level, those who have less education, Americans of multiple race, American Indians/Alaska Natives, males, those who live in the South or Midwest, those who have a disability or limitation and those who are lesbian, gay or bisexual. (Data specific to sexual orientation was collected for the first time by the NHIS in 2013.)
Among current cigarette smokers, the proportion of those who smoke every day decreased from 80.8% in 2005 to 76.9% in 2013. The proportion of cigarette smokers who smoke only on some days increased from 19.2% in 2005 to 23.1% in 2013. Among daily smokers, the average number of cigarettes smoked per day declined from 16.7 in 2005 to 14.2 in 2013. The proportion of daily smokers who smoked 20 to 29 cigarettes per day dropped from 34.9% in 2005 to 29.3% in 2013, while the proportion who smoked fewer than 10 cigarettes per day rose from 16.4% in 2005 to 23.3% in 2013.
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