Good news for non-smokes and health experts: a new survey carried out by the CDC has revealed that US smoking rates are now down to just a little over 15 percent (15%).
A team of researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stress that this is a remarkable achievement as the smoking rate has dropped down by almost 17 percent (17%) since 2014 and almost 18 percent (18%) since 2013.
However, the pattern isn’t new as it started back in 2010, when it surprised researchers after ten (10) years of noticing no progress.
Patricia Folan, director of the Center for Tobacco Control from North Shore-LIJ Health System (New York), has come up with a few theories that could explain why this change may finally be happening. For starters, tobacco taxes have increased exponentially in recent years, turning smoking into quite a pricy vice.
On top of this, officials have approved several laws that drastically limit the places where smokers can indulge in their vice, both indoors and outdoors, and anti-smoking ads have started taking a much more aggressive approach by portraying people who talk about all the negative ways in which smoking has affect their lives.
Folan informed that a lot of smokers approach her and tell her that “When I can’t smoke here, I can’t smoke there, when people see me smoke they look at me like I’m a pariah — it makes me want to not smoke anymore”, and that many of them also admit to having a hard time sitting through the new, aggressive ads.
Overall, the National Health Interview Survey has found that the nation’s smoking rate has improved tremendously since 1965. Back then, 42 percent (42%) of US adults were smokers.
But the road was a bumpy one. The CDC researchers said that a lot of experts expressed worry between 2004 and 2009, as the smoking rate never once went below 20 percent (20%) during this time frame. Some people even believed that it’s impossible to get through to the remaining smokers.
However Thomas Carr, American Lung Association’s national policy director, gave a statement of his own saying that today’s smoking rate suggests that the current anti-smoking ads are getting a reaction out of smokers and that they need to continue if we stand any chance of convincing the nation’s last smokers to quit.
He went on to agree with Folan that that smoking bans have made a real difference, but he was also unhappy to inform that only one (1) of the 50 states passed a good smoke-free law in the last five (5) years – North Dakota. Carr stressed that the United States still has 22 states which haven’t passed any smoking limitations whatsoever.
But things may change in the near future as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced that it intends to regulate additional smoking products such as hookahs, electronic cigarettes and cigars. This in turn will also help bring down the number of smokers.
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