Fewer American adults are smoking than ever before, according to a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The dip in the smoking rate is due to higher cigarette prices, smoke-free policies and campaigns to combat smoking, the CDC said. Increased access to medications and programs that help smokers quit have also contributed to the lower smoking rate.
Last year about 17.8 percent of American adults smoked cigarettes, down from 20.9 percent in 2005. In 1965, when the government began to track smoking rates, 42.2 percent of adults smoked, according to Reuters. While the decline in smoking rates is encouraging, it is not enough to meet the federal goal of reducing the adult rate to 12 percent by 2020, the CDC noted.
Adults who do smoke are cutting back, the report found. Smokers consumed an average of 14.2 cigarettes daily last year, compared with 16.7 in 2005.
“There is encouraging news in this study, but we still have much more work to do to help people quit,” Tim McAfee, MD, MPH, Director of the CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health, said in a news release. “We can bring down cigarette smoking rates much further, much faster, if strategies proven to work are put in place like funding tobacco control programs at the CDC-recommended levels, increasing prices of tobacco products, implementing and enforcing comprehensive smoke-free laws, and sustaining hard-hitting media campaigns.”