According to a recent press release from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), smoking rates has been at its lowest in the United States (https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2018/p1108-cigarette-smoking-adults.html). However, while this is good news, the CDC also cautions that the positive forward momentum in the antismoking campaign must continue as there is still a lot of work to do. Here’s why:
While smoking tobacco has seen a 67% drop since the time the US government began tracking smoking rates back in 1965, the amount of Americans that smoke are still alarming. In 2017, the CDC estimated that approximately 14% of American adults were still smokers. This relates to roughly 34 million people. The director of the CDC, Robert Redfield, stated in the press release that while the US has seen an all-time low in cigarette smoking amongst adults, which is a huge accomplishment, it also demonstrates why it’s important to continue with the proven strategies that have been implemented to reduce smoking.
Cigarettes Are Not the Only Form of Tobacco
While cigarette rates have hit an all-time low, people in the US are also using other forms such as cigars, water pipes and hookahs, and E cigarettes. The press release stated that roughly 47 million people are using these other tobacco products, so when you add this into the equation, the reality is that there is still a while to go before we reach the light at the end of the tunnel.
Who Is More Likely to Use Tobacco?
While the use of tobacco is a national issue in the United States, the CDC stated that there are certain groups of people that tend to use tobacco products more compared to others. One of these groups is people that have incomes under $35,000 per year. Other groups included people that didn’t have insurance, and those that have Medicare insurance or received some form of public assistance.
There seems to be a high rate of tobacco use from adults who identified as gay, lesbian or bisexual, and there is a high likelihood of tobacco use amongst certain ethnic groups such as non-Hispanic American Indian, Native Americans and multiracial groups, who are white or black adults.
According to the CDC, people that had serious psychological distress also tended to increase their use of tobacco. Just over 40% of adults who had reported distress said that they used tobacco while only 18.5% of adults that hadn’t reported being severely distressed didn’t.
Smoking Continues to Pose a Serious Danger
In the same press release, NCI director, Dr. Norman E. Sharpless stated that if smoking were to be eliminated in America, this would eliminate close to 1/3 of all cancer deaths in the US, over time. However, until then, cigarette smoking continues to be a leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States, and it is been like this for just over the last half-century. There is still a strong need for comprehensive programs to control tobacco, and this has to be implemented locally, statewide and nationally. The CDC stated that through these programs, the progress in reducing the deaths and diseases related to tobacco can be accelerated.
This press release does have some comforting news in the fight against the use of tobacco; however, people need to keep their feet on the ground. While the programs on controlling tobacco use help to make a huge difference in lowering the use of all forms of tobacco, education starts at home. Parents need to set the right example for their children by not smoking, and they must continually educate their children on the detrimental effects of tobacco as well as how to deal with peer group pressure when they’re not at home.