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CDC says smoking rate drops below 20 percent

Armen Hareyan's picture

For the first time since the CDC has been tracking smoking rates, the smoking rate for adults has dropped below 20 percent (to 19.8 percent in 2007, in fact.) The smoking rate was 20.8 percent in 2006, 20.9 percent in 2005 and 20.9 percent in 2004. This is the biggest drop in smoking rates in years. Here are the CDC charts on smoking.

Smoking bans, cigarette taxes and anti-smoking programs and education are key to dropping the smoking rate. Smoking rate for men in 2007 was 22.3 percent (down from 23.9 percent in 2006), while for women was 17.4 percent (down from 19 percent in 2006).

Again, education level makes a huge difference in smoking rates. For college graduates, the smoking rate was 6.2 percent in 2007, (6.6 percent in 2006). For those with an undergraduate college degree, the smoking rate was 11.4 percent (actually up from 9.6 percent in 2006, but you can't complain about 11.4 percent.)

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For smokers with just a GED, the smoking rate was 44 percent (down from 46 percent). High school dropouts have a smoking rate of 24.8 percent (down from 26.7 percent), while those with just a high school diploma, the smoking rate was 23.7 percent (down from 23.8 percent in 2006.).

Not coincidentally, the smoking rate for people below poverty level remains high at 28.8 percent (down from 30.6 percent in 2006, however.) Smoking is slowly but surely becoming a plague of the poor and uneducated.

The best news, the smoking rate for people aged 18-24 dropped quite a bit. The rate for young smokers is 22.2 percent, down from 23.9 percent in 2006. For men aged 18-24, it really dropped. the rate was 25.4 percent in 2007, down from 29.5 percent in 2006. (I think higher cigarette taxes have a lot to do with this age group dropping so much.)

The smoking rate for older smokers (over 65) remains very low at 8.3 percent. That's because a lot of people quit after 65, often times after they've had a cancer scare or heart attack or stroke.