A Win for Public Health: Smoking Rate at a New Low

Jonathan Cohn: “New survey data, which the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released Tuesday morning, suggests that just 15.2 percent of American adults are now using cigarettes on a regular basis. That smoking rate is nearly 2 percentage points lower than what the same survey reported for calendar year 2014. ”

“This year’s reduction is part of a long-term trend that dates back at least 50 years, to when the surgeon general published a landmark report identifying smoking as a health hazard. Since that time, officials and public health advocates have been waging the policy equivalent of a full-court press against smoking.”

“Of course, some portion of the people who no longer smoke cigarettes have probably switched to using electronic cigarettes, the health effects of which remain the subject of intense debate even among scholars and anti-smoking activists.”


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  • Calbengoshi

    As the article notes, vaping has not yet been studied enough to enable doctors to conclude what impact it has on a person’s health. However, regardless of the impact of vaping on an e-cigarette user, I can attest from personal experience that being in a room with 3-4 vapers is less irritating than being in a room with even one smoker.

  • embo66

    Generally speaking, this is good news. It’s also a relief to note that the upticks in 2008-10 were indeed probably related to everyone’s increased stress due to the Great Recession — and that since then, rates have continued to fall again.

    However, national averages mask the disparities beneath: Low-income, low-educated Americans still smoke at more than twice the rates of the US average; and males, especially Millennial and Gen X males, have smoking rates of 17-20%.

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