Long plateau ends as fewer adults smoke
By USA Today
Published: Tuesday, June 18, 2013, 8:36 p.m.
The smoking rate for adults in the country dipped last year after a seven-year stall, a new government report said. It's too early to tell why.
Smoking rates have declined steadily for decades, according to the report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Last year's decrease — down to 18 percent — ends a smoking rate stall that hovered at 20 percent to 21 percent for more than seven years, then froze at about 19 percent in 2010 and 2011.
“We are a long way from the end game on tobacco use,” said Thomas Novotny, professor of global health at San Diego State University. “It is too early to declare victory.”
Smoking is the leading cause of preventable illness and death in the USA, accounting for one in five deaths and direct medical costs ranging from $50 billion to $73 billion per year, the CDC says. It causes more than 80 percent of all lung cancer deaths and coronary heart disease, the leading cause of death in the country, according to a CDC report.
It's unclear what caused last year's smoking rate to decline. Historically, rising taxes on tobacco products, smoking restrictions and mass media and school-based educational campaigns have helped push down the smoking rate, says Joshua Yang, a tobacco control researcher at the University of California-San Francisco.
The preliminary report, released on Tuesday, did not include data on teens. The rate was about 9 percent for adults older than 65 compared with about 20 percent for all other adults. Men are more likely to smoke than women across all age groups.
The data were collected from a survey of 35,000 U.S. adults. Adults who have smoked more than 100 cigarettes in their lifetime and smoke every day or some days are considered smokers.
Almost half of states require smoke-free indoor air, a well-studied deterrent to smoking, says Richard Grucza, an associate professor of psychiatry at Washington University. He said declines could be the result of stricter tobacco control policies.
Last year, the CDC started a controversial advertising campaign featuring graphic photos, stories and videos of smokers to budge the smoking rate down. The TV and radio spots triggered 200,000 additional calls by smokers about quitting, according to the CDC.
Yang acknowledges the significance of the CDC's effort but says other tobacco control efforts can't be discounted. Increases in cigarette prices reduce smoking rates significantly, especially for adolescents.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Traffic tickets — and revenue — plunge in Dallas
- Navy deems drone launch from submarine success
- Snowstorm silences north Texas
- Justices to hear critical software case
- Dems to overlook probe of nominee
- Pearl Harbor survivor keeps story alive
- Wind-power companies won’t face federal prosecution in eagle deaths
- Longtime intel adviser resigns as feds learn of link to China tech company
- Measure happiness, U.S. told
- GOP unlikely to block ban on plastic guns
- Baker ordered to serve gay couples