Both number of smokers and frequency of tobacco use on decline

ATLANTA — Not only are there fewer smokers across the country, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report released Tuesday, but the men and women that are still smoking also are smoking less.

The report, which covered data from 2005 to 2010, showed an estimated 19.3% of American adults, ages 18 years and older, continue to smoke, a decline from 20.9% in 2005.

Of those adults who smoke, 78.2% smoke every day. The percent of U.S. adult daily smokers who smoke nine or fewer cigarettes per day rose to 21.8% in 2010, up from 16.4% in 2005. The percent who smoke 30 or more cigarettes per day (a pack typically contains 20 cigarettes) fell from 12.7% to 8.3% during the same period.

"Any decline in the number of people who smoke and the number of cigarettes consumed is a step in the right direction," stated CDC director Tom Frieden. "States with the strongest tobacco control programs have the greatest success at reducing smoking."

Although data from the CDC's National Health Interview Survey showed fewer American adults are smoking, the rate of the decline between 2005 and 2010 is slower than in the previous five-year period. "This slowing trend shows the need for intensified efforts to reduce cigarette smoking among adults," commented Tim McAfee, director of the CDC Office on Smoking and Health.

"We know what works: higher tobacco prices, hard-hitting media campaigns, graphic health warnings on cigarette packs and 100% smoke-free policies, with easily accessible help for those who want to quit," McAfee added. "These approaches are proven to decrease smoking and reduce the health burden and economic impact of tobacco-related diseases in the United States."

According to the report, tobacco use and exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke kill an estimated 443,000 Americans each year. For every one smoking-related death, another 20 people live with a smoking-related disease.

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