CDC: U.S. Smoking Rates Steady, But Smoke-free Laws Effective
Article date: November 13, 2009
By: Rebecca Viksnins Snowden
Smoking rates in the U.S. have stayed about the same for the last 5 years, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). On the plus side, states with smoke-free laws have the lowest smoking prevalence among adults, a sign anti-smoking advocates say highlights the need for additional legislation.
An estimated 20.6 percent (46 million) of U.S. adults were still smoking in 2008, compared to 19.8 percent in 2007, the CDC data shows. Rates were higher among men (23.1 percent), among people living below the poverty line (31.5 percent), and among those who had earned a General Education Development (GED) certificate (41.3 percent). Among racial groups, American Indians and Alaska Natives had the highest prevalence of adult smokers, at 32.4 percent. Rates didn't vary much based on age.
The lowest smoking rates among adults were seen in states with completely smoke-free workplaces, such as New Jersey (14.8 percent), California (14 percent), and Utah (9.2 percent). Meanwhile, the highest rates were found in states without such laws, such as West Virginia (26.6 percent), Indiana (26.1 percent) and Kentucky (25.3 percent).
The data was presented in 2 separate reports published Friday in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR).
"These findings show the tremendous effect that state and local smoke-free laws, higher tobacco excise taxes and fully funded tobacco prevention and cessation programs have had on our communities," said John R. Seffrin, PhD, chief executive officer of the American Cancer Society (ACS) and its advocacy affiliate, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN). "By passing these important laws, we have helped more Americans quit smoking, prevented children from ever starting, and diminished the harmful effects of secondhand smoke in workplaces."
ACS and ACS CAN have been working tirelessly in support of smoke-free laws and efforts to raise state and federal excise taxes on tobacco.
"Despite major progress in recent years to enact strong tobacco control measures at the state and local levels, only 40 percent of the population is covered by comprehensive smoke-free laws," said Daniel E. Smith, president of ACS CAN. "Clearly, there is still much more work that needs to be done."
There are high hopes for "The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act," signed into law by President Obama in 2009. The legislation grants the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) power over the sale, production, and marketing of cigarettes and other tobacco products. It also includes provisions specifically designed to decrease youth smoking.
Smoking damages nearly every organ in the human body and is linked to at least 15 different cancers. If you need help quitting, the American Cancer Society can help. Make a plan to quit on November 19th, the day of this year's Great American Smokeout.
Citations: "Cigarette Smoking Among Adults and Trends in Smoking Cessation --- United States, 2008." Published in the November 13, 2009 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) (58(44);1227-1232).
"State-Specific Secondhand Smoke Exposure and Current Cigarette Smoking Among Adults --- United States, 2008." Published in the November 13, 2009 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) (58(44);1232-1235).
Reviewed by: Members of the ACS Medical Content Staff
ACS News Center stories are provided as a source of cancer-related news and are not intended to be used as press releases.
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