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Adult smoking rate at standstill since 2005

Jenny Decker RN's picture

A wakeup call today for government and communities regarding the rate of adult smoking rates not moving for five years is concerning to many. One in 5 Americans smoke, but that number has not decreased since 2005. Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the CDC, states the reason for the smoking plateau is that the tobacco companies have increased their efforts at marketing and selling, while government and communities have felt it a low priority to reduce tobacco use.

The National Health Interview Survey and Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) showed data indicated that in 2005, adult smoking was 20.9 percent and in 2010 the rate is 20.6%. In addition to this, according to the CDC, comprehensive evidence-based programs are not being implemented.

Not enough money to match tobacco companies

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With 1000 dying per year in tobacco-related deaths, Frieden states that not enough money is being used to match the work that the tobacco companies are doing to sell cigarettes. When the tobacco companies are spending 35 times the amount that government and communities are spending on reduction, the problem is astounding. According to Frieden, only 3 cents per dollar is being spent on reduction. If 15 cents per dollar could be spent, then Frieden predicts that a 2 percent decrease in tobacco use across the country could be seen. However, instead money that is gleaned from tobacco related income, such as taxes on cigarettes and settlement money, is being used for prisons or roads.

The prevalence of exposure to secondhand smoke in nonsmokers has also reached a standstill. The CDC stated that 88 million nonsmokers were exposed to the secondhand smoke. This includes almost half of all children aged 3 to 11. Frieden reported that almost all children who have parents that smoke are exposed to the toxic chemicals in the cigarettes.

Frieden also stated today that if all states had the tough anti-smoking and cancer prevention programs, like Utah and California, then the number of smokers would be drastically reduced. Utah came in as the state with the lowest number of , coming in at 10% and California in second place at 13%. The top two states for the most smokers were Kentucky and West Virginia, both at 26%. Indiana was bumped from the top two list of 2009.