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Study Finds Fewer Americans are Smoking

Update Date: Jun 19, 2013 11:50 AM EDT
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Smoking contributes to millions of premature deaths every year. Although smoking does not kill immediately, it leads to painful health conditions such as lung cancer and throat cancer. Campaigns within the past years have been focused on getting people to quit smoking and preventing the youth from picking up on the habit. Now, according to a new government survey, the smoking rate for American adults has finally fallen after a seven-year stall. Despite these new statistics showing promising results, the researchers who worked on the report under the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) believe that there is still a long way to go in the fight against smoking and tobacco use.

"We are a long way from the end game on tobacco use. It is too early to declare victory," global health professor, Thomas Novotny from San Diego State University said reported by USA Today.

The researchers calculated that the rate of adult smokers had lowered to 18 percent last year. This percentage is a significant decrease after the rate stayed at around 20 to 21 percent for over seven years. From 2010 to 2011, the smoking rate was around 19 percent.

The researchers used data that was compiled from a survey of 35,000 adults. The researchers identified adult smokers as people who smoked over 100 cigarettes within their lifetime, smoked every day, or frequently smoked on some days.  The researchers currently do not know what caused the rate to drop after being stagnant for so long. Some theories involve the use of tobacco taxes, smoking registrations, media, advertisements and educational campaigns.

Just last year, the CDC released a huge advertising campaign that used graphic photos, stories and videos of real smokers who have lost something due to their habit. On top of that, nearly half of the states have placed a ban on indoor smoking.

"It is encouraging to see that the prevalence rate has finally edged downwards for adults after lingering above 20 percent for so long," Novotny said. "Nevertheless, we still have 45 million or so smokers in the U.S., and so we still have an enormous challenge to try to reduce this number further."

The CDC reports that smoking is the number one cause of preventable illnesses and death within the U.S. It contributes to one in five deaths and causes over 80 percent of deaths from lung cancer and coronary heart disease. Smoking is also responsible for $50 to $73 billion dollars spent on medical care. 

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