Health officials announced recently that there has been a significant decrease in the number of smokers in the U.S. over the last 50 years.
The main cause behind the significant decline in the number of smokers has not yet been determined. However, the decline appears to be at least partially due to better insurance coverage and assistance to help smokers quit the habit. Another contributing factor has been the imposition of stricter laws prohibiting smokers from smoking in more places.
CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden said in a statement, “Smoking kills half a million Americans each year and costs more than $300 billion. This report shows real progress helping American smokers quit and that more progress is possible.”
Researchers suggested in their findings, “data from the 2014 National Health Interview Survey show that 27.9 percent of uninsured adults and 29.1 percent of Medicaid recipients currently smoke. By contrast, 12.9 percent of adults with private insurance and 12.5 percent of those on Medicare currently smoke.”
Findings also revealed that men are more likely to continue to smoke when compared to women. The rates amount 18.8 percent versus 14.8 percent, respectively. Also, people above the age of 65 and above have the lowest rate of smoking.
In total, the number of U.S. adults who smoke cigarettes declined from 20.9 percent in 2005 to 16.8 percent in 2014. Figures also reveal that cigarette smoking was noticeably lower in 2014 (16.8 percent) than in 2013 (17.8 percent).
Healthday reported in September that down almost 17 percent in 2014 and almost 18 percent in 2013. The nosedive reflects a continued decline that started in 2010 after a decade of no progress against smoking, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Tuesday.
Dr Laurent Greillier, from Hopital Nord in Marseille, said, ‘Nowadays everyone knows that smoking is a risk factor for developing several cancers, especially lung cancer.
People covered by Mediaid, the health insurance plan offered by the government for those among low-income group, and people having no insurance have the highest chance of smoking when compared to those with good health insurance, stated researchers, according to NBC News.
Researchers said that they are not sure if products like e-cigarettes contribute to reduce the number of smokers in the country.
Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids stated, “Our immense progress reveals that we know how to defeat tobacco. Proven methods must be implemented with full force countrywide, including higher tobacco taxes, strong smoke-free laws, well-funded tobacco prevention and cessation programs that include mass media campaigns, and comprehensive, barrier-free health insurance coverage for smoking cessation treatments.”
Rising federal and state cigarette taxes may have contributed to the decrease smoking in rates. Myers said that followinga drop in the mid-2000s, the number of adult smokers started to drop once again after the federal cigarette tax was raised by 62 cents in 2009.