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One in five adults used tobacco products in 2015, CDC says

Ben Schmitt
| Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017, 4:18 p.m.

About one in five American adults used some form of tobacco in 2015, according to new survey data published Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Center for Tobacco Products

The report showed 42 million adults reported smoking cigarettes, cigars or some form of pipe. Another 7 million used e-cigarettes or smokeless tobacco products such as chewing tobacco or snuff.

“Too many Americans are harmed by cigarette smoking, which is the nation's leading preventable cause of death and disease,” CDC Director Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald said in a statement. “CDC will continue to use proven strategies to help smokers quit and to prevent children from using any tobacco products.”

Tobacco use was more common among men than among women, and more common among younger adults, ages 25 to 44, than older adults, ages 65 and older, according to the report published in the in CDC's the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Tobacco use was also higher among Midwestern residents; people with annual household incomes under $35,000; those uninsured or on Medicaid and people with a disability. Cigarette smoking has declined among U.S. adults for several decades but remains a major problem. Smoking kills an estimated 480,000 Americans each year, and about 16 million Americans suffer from a smoking-related illness, the CDC said.

“These results make clear that more action is needed to reduce the disease and death caused by cigarette use — and the FDA has announced a comprehensive approach to do just that,” said FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb. “As part of this effort, the FDA is focusing on the role that nicotine plays in creating and sustaining addiction to combustible cigarettes, by seeking to regulate the nicotine content in cigarettes to render them minimally or non-addictive. This will be coupled with efforts to encourage innovation of potentially less harmful products, including electronic nicotine delivery systems.”

The findings came from a National Health Interview Survey asking adults age 18 and older about the frequency of their tobacco use. It found that 9.5 million American adults reported using two or more tobacco products every day or some days,

Ben Schmitt is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-320-7991, or via Twitter at @Bencschmitt.

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