Fewer Americans Smoking Cigarettes, CDC Report

A new report suggests that there are fewer Americans who are smoking cigarettes after finding ways to quit the habit, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention.

In 2010, there were fewer than 45 million Americans who smoke cigarettes. That’s about 19.3 percent of adults nationwide that is down from 20.9 percent in 2005. It also means that illnesses caused by secondhand tobacco is also on the decline.

“That represents 3 million fewer smokers in 2010 then there would have been five years ago,” CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden said in a statement.

The CDC also reports that among existing smokers, they have cut back on the habit. About 21.8 percent had less than 10 cigarettes a day in 2010 compared to 16.4 in 2005.

Among the heaviest of smokers about 8.3 percent of them smoked more than 30 a day in 2010. That compares to 12.7 percent in 2005. “People who smoke are smoking less, but we can do much better,” Frieden said.

Although data from CDC’s National Health Interview Survey show fewer American adults are smoking, the rate of the decline between 2005 and 2010 is slower than in the previous five-year period.

Dr. Tim McAfee, director of the CDC Office on Smoking and Health, said the slowing trend signifies the need for states to intensify tobacco control efforts. “We know what works: higher tobacco prices, hard-hitting media campaigns, graphic health warnings on cigarette packs, and 100 percent smoke-free policies, with easily accessible help for those who want to quit,” he said.

Tobacco use and exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke kill an estimated 443,000 Americans each year. For every one smoking-related death, another 20 people live with a disease.