Smoking – closely followed by obesity – is the largest cause of premature deaths around the world. However, a new study released by the CDC has found the cigarette smoking hit an all-time low last year: 13.7% of adults smoked cigarettes or used other tobacco products.
The news has been welcomed by health officials at the CDC. However, they are still working on reducing overall smoking rates, which are still around 1 in 7. Additionally, there has been a rise in e-cigarette use, with many smokers switching to vaping.
CDC director Dr. Robert R. Redfield said in a statement: “This marked decline in cigarette smoking is the achievement of a consistent and coordinated effort by the public health community and our many partners. Yet, our work is far from over.”
This particular survey looked at data from the 2018 National Health Interview Survey. It found that, overall, there has been a decline in smoking rates of around two thirds since the survey began in 1965. Broken down by product, these figures were:
- Cigarettes: 13.7 percent
- Cigars: 3.9 percent
- E-cigarettes: 3.2 percent
- Smokeless tobacco: 2.4 percent
- Pipes, water pipes, or hookahs: 1 percent
This follows other studies which have shown similar results. For example, one study into the number of teenagers smoking in England found that, in 1996, the number of teenagers smoking was 49%. In 2016, this was 19% and in 2018 it had fallen to just 16%
The CDC also noted, however, that the use of e-cigarettes had grown to 3.2% last year, and among young people this figure was 7.6%. Additionally, 19% of adults reported using more than one tobacco product in the last year.
FDA Commissioner Admiral Dr. Brett Giroir commented: “The sustained drop in adult smoking is encouraging as we work to reduce tobacco-related disease and death in the U.S. through science-driven policy, compliance and enforcement in addition to public education. We remain dedicated to keeping pace with the evolving tobacco product landscape to ensure strong regulatory oversight in light of the increases in youth use of e-cigarette products in the U.S.”