Eight-Year Decline in U.S. Smoking Rate Plateaus, Study Finds
Between 2004 and 2005, the proportion of U.S. residents who smoked plateaued at 20.9% after eight years of steady declines, according to a CDC study published in the agency's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, the Washington Post reports. For the study, researchers interviewed a representative sample of 31,428 people ages 18 and older(Stein, Washington Post, 10/27).
The study found that a total 45.1 million U.S. residents smoke, of which 81% smoke every day and 19% smoke some days (Price, Washington Times, 10/27). Nationally, 23.9% of men smoke, while 18.1% of women are smokers (Washington Post, 10/27).
American Indians and Alaskan Natives have the highest smoking rate at 32.0% followed by whites at 21.9%, blacks at 21.5%, Asians at 13.3% and Hispanics at 16.2%.
Terry Pechacek, associate director of science in CDC's Office of Smoking and Health and an author of the report, cites "smaller annual increases in the retail price of cigarettes," as well as a 27% cut in funding for state anti-smoking campaigns, as reasons behind the increase. In addition, tobacco industry advertising and promotional expenses have "more than doubled from $6.7 billion in 1998 to $15.1 billion in 2003," according to the report(Washington Times, 10/27).
A second report found varying smoking rates throughout the country, with the highest rate in Kentucky at 28.7% and the lowest rate in Utah at 11.5% (Washington Post, 10/27).
Nearly 50% of U.S. residents said they would support a federal ban on cigarettes within the next five to 10 years, according to a Zogby poll commissioned by the Drug Policy Alliance. The poll found that people ages 18 to 29 had the strongest support for making cigarettes illegal (CQ HealthBeat, 10/26).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.