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Drop in Smoking Levels Off

Roughly 1 in 5 U.S. Adults Smoked Cigarettes Last Year; Same Rate as in 2004
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Nov. 8, 2007 -- A seven-year decline in the percentage of U.S. adults who smoke cigarettes seems to have leveled off.

The CDC today reported that roughly one in five U.S. adults -- 20.8% -- smoked cigarettes last year.

That's the same percentage as in 2004 -- and a long way from the government's goal that no more than 12% of U.S. adults will smoke cigarettes in 2010.

Those smoking statistics suggest that the previous seven-year decline (1997-2004) in adult cigarette smokers has stalled, according to the CDC.

The CDC's latest cigarette smoking statistics show that in 2006, some 45 million adults smoked cigarettes.

More than twice as many adults -- an estimated 91 million -- have ever been smokers (defined by the CDC as smoking at least 100 cigarettes in their entire lives).

Of current smokers, 80% report smoking every day, and 44% tried for at least one day last year to quit smoking.

The CDC also reports that people who say they have a smoking-related illness such as cancer, heart disease, or emphysema are more likely than other people to be current smokers.

It's never too late to quit smoking, even after a smoking-related condition has been diagnosed.

"Among smokers who already have a smoking-related chronic disease, those who quit have a lower risk for death from the disease than those who continue smoking," states the CDC.

The CDC urges health care providers to "repeatedly offer intensive smoking-cessation interventions to all of their patients, especially those with smoking-related chronic diseases who continue to smoke."

The findings, based on in-person interviews with 24,275 adults, appear in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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