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Smoking on (Very Slow) Decline

Every year the Gallup Organization takes a survey of the smoking habits of the adult American public. They have been doing this for 60 years and this year came in with the lowest figures ever.

Not only is the number of Americans who are smoking on the decline, but those who still smoke, smoke fewer cigarettes per day. And only 25% of current smokers say they started smoking before the age of 16, another figure that is the lowest they have ever attained with this survey and the majority of smokers want to quit, but they also state that they consider themselves to be addicted to cigarettes.

The poll was taken from July 12 to 15, and in the poll only 21% of American adults said they had smoked during the past week, the lowest ever although in some past years they did come close with 22% in 2004 and 23% in 1999.

As a prospective, the first ever poll that Gallup took on this question back in 1944 showed that 41% of Americans reported smoking. The figures have been on a gradual decline until today the number is almost half of what it was in the first one.

Most of the respondents who said they are smokers, 55%, say they are smoking less than one pack a day. Before 1999, the figures were different with most smokers saying they smoked a pack or more a day. Since then the majority have said they smoke less than a pack a day.

When asked at what age they stated smoking, they got this response. Those who say they started before 16 amounted to 25% and this is the lowest figure ever in this age group. Those who started when they were between the ages of 16 and 18 was 40% and those who started when they were over 18 was 35%. The Majority of Americans, 56% say they have never regularly smoked cigarettes.

They also broke the figures down by the demographics of education. Of those who are college graduates, 135 say they smoke and 65% say they have never smoked. Those with some college education came in with 24% saying they smoke and of those with no college education, 27% say they smoke and the majority in this group also report having been regular smokers at some point in time.

In conjunction with the upcoming 2008 Great American Smokeout (November 20), the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently released a status report of the national effort to reduce smoking to no more than 12% of the population by 2010. While progress is evident, the progress is coming too slowly to meet the goal, according to CDC officials.

US smokers are thought to number 43.4 million, or 19.8% of the 2007 adult population, down less than 1% from 2006’s 20.8%. The national objective is to reduce the rate of adult smokers to less than 12% by 2010.

Smoking wreaks havoc on the lives of smokers and their loved ones. It also produces substantial imposition to the national health system and passes staggering financial burden along to society in general.

For example:
30% of all deaths from cancer started with smoking.
80% of all lung cancer deaths are attributed to smoking.
So are 80% of all diagnoses of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Smokers develop and die from cardiovascular diseases much younger than nonsmokers do.
About 50% of all long-term smokers die in middle age, with the risk of early death highest when smoking began during one’s teen years.
The single most important thing a smoker can do today to protect his or her health? Quit smoking.
Smoking endangers the health of nonsmoking family members and coworkers, too.
There are more options available than ever before to help a smoker kick the habit.
Telephone counseling and drug therapies double a smoker’s chances of quitting for good.
Each year from 2000 to 2004, about 443,000 Americans died prematurely because of smoking or the second-hand smoke from someone else’s cigarettes.
During that same time period, the cost of smoking-related healthcare services was about $96 billion each year.
The cost of smoking-related heath care is rising dramatically. In 1998, the annual expenditure was only $75 billion (compared to 2000’s $96 billion, just two years later).
On-the-job productivity lost to cigarette-related healthcare issues? $97 billion per year.
With $96 billion invested in healthcare expenses and $97 billion lost to absence from or impaired performance at work, the national economic burden for cigarette smoking has been approximately $193 billion every year since 2000.

The CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health has devised a plan by which five million people in five years will quit smoking if every state were to implement the plan by the end of this year. The CDC estimates the tobacco-related premature death toll would drop by hundreds of thousands every year if its plan became nationwide.

A similar effort, the Great American Smokeout, to be celebrated for the 32nd time on Thursday, November 20, calls on smokers everywhere to not smoke at all for just the one day. Hosted by the American Cancer Society, the annual smokeout encourages smokers to abstain for the day and offers educational and motivational tools to make the quitting process as comfortable and successful as possible.

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We cannot provide medical advise. The information contained is only to educate the general public. Consult your physician for advice pertaining to your individual needs. The information is provided without any expressed or implied warranty and we are not liable for any mistakes, errors or omissions.

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