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Adult Smokers on the Rise According to CDC


After declining from 24.1% in 1998 to 19.8% in 2007, the proportion of U.S. adults who are cigarette smokers has risen to 20.6% in 2008 according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s November 13th Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

In 2008, it was noted that 41.3% of adults over 25 years of age with only a GED level of education were smokers compared to 5.7% among persons with a graduate degree. In adults with less than a high school diploma had a 27.5% smoker rate. This places well over half of all smokers in the low educational attainment population.

Programs for reducing smoking will need to take education level into account when communicating smoking hazards and cessation.

According to the report, quit ratios among adults 25 and older were 39.9% for those with a GED and 45.7% for those with no high school diploma. The quit ratios is much better among those with an undergraduate degree (60%) or a graduate degree (80%). Quit ratios are the ratio of former smokers to ever smokers for each survey year.

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The MMWR article reports American Indians/Alaska Natives have the highest prevalence of smoking (32.4%), followed by non-Hispanic whites (22.0%), non-Hispanic blacks (21.3 %), Hispanics (15.8%) and Asians (9.9%).

Men (23.1%) are more likely to smoke than women (18.3%).

Cigarette smoking continues to be the leading cause of preventable morbidity and mortality in the United States. With an estimated 45 million American adults who smoker, it is important to educate and offer cessation counseling/treatment.

Cigarette smoking accounts for about 443,000 premature deaths, including 49,400 in nonsmokers, annually. Thirty percent of cancer deaths can be attributed to tobacco.

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