Up in Smoke

Americans are kicking the smoking habit like never before. According to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of people in the U.S. who smoke cigarettes fell at a faster rate last year than it has in more than 20 years!

From the New York Times:

The percentage of adults aged 18 and over who were cigarette smokers in 2015 was 15.1 percent, down from 16.8 percent in 2014.

That figure is in line with a general trend showing that smoking in that age range has tapered off since 1997, when more than one quarter of adults smoked. The survey did not give reasons for the trend or analyze whether it could be attributed to smokers’ switching from conventional cigarettes to e-cigarette devices.

The drop in the smoking rate since the mid-1960’s has been dramatic. NBC News wrote,  “About 50 years ago, roughly 42 percent of U.S. adults smoked. It was common nearly everywhere — in office buildings, restaurants, airplanes and even hospitals. The smoking rate’s gradual decline has coincided with an increased public understanding that smoking is a cause of cancer, heart disease and other lethal health problems.

Experts attribute recent declines decline to the mounting impact of anti-smoking advertising campaigns, cigarette taxes and smoking bans.”

As cigarette smoking continues to decline in our country, the use of e-cigarettes is gaining in popularity……particularly among young people. According to Healthline.com, “e-cigarettes are becoming alternatives to smoking on the belief the vapor from them is safer than the smoke in cigarettes.”

However, a new report from Reuters found that more Americans are now questioning their safety.

About 10 percent of the 9,766 adults surveyed between April 19 and May 16 use the devices, the same percentage as in a similar Reuters/Ipsos poll in May, 2015. This year, however, a growing percentage of participants expressed negative attitudes toward e-cigarettes. Forty-seven percent of respondents said vaping was not healthier than smoking conventional cigarettes compared with 38 percent who felt that way a year ago.

Despite the drop in smoking rates and the growing concern over e-cigarettes, smoking remains the leading cause of preventable death in the U.S. killing 480,000 per year. Here in Arizona, we ranked 16th in the most recent national health ranking in smoking rates. That puts us in the top third of the nation, but we want to know how you think we can do even better. Finding new solutions to ongoing health challenges will help us take another step toward our goal of one day making Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation!



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