U.S. Smoking Rates Improve - States Must Do More

(September 21, 2011)

In its September 6 issue of Vital Signs the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that U.S. adult smoking rates decreased between 2005 and 2010. Despite this encouraging news, the American Lung Association urges that more must be done at the state level to prevent this progress from back-sliding.

According to the report, 19.3 percent of adults smoked in 2010 compared with 20.9 percent in 2005. However, American Lung Association President and CEO Charles D. Connor warned in a statement that while the report reflects progress from 2005 to 2010, that trend is likely to change unless states do more to pass proven tobacco control policies such as smokefree workplace laws and invest in effective prevention and cessation programs.

“The reduction was not consistent over the five-year period and does not reflect the stalling—and even backsliding—of states in passing policies to fight tobacco use in 2011,” said Connor. “For the first time since 2001, no states passed a comprehensive smokefree law in 2011, and Nevada actually rolled back its existing smokefree law approved by voters in 2006.”

Connor also emphasized devastating cuts to tobacco prevention programs that continued in many states, including the defunding of a successful program that has helped drive down both adult and youth smoking rates in Washington state to among the lowest in the country.

“Progress in reducing adult smoking rates cannot be sustained if states are moving backward,” concluded Connor. “The American Lung Association strongly urges all states to pass proven tobacco control policies and invest in tobacco prevention programs—even amid a challenging fiscal climate.”

For more information on smokefree laws and policies, click here.

You can join our fight for smokefree air by signing our Smokefree Air Challenge petition.