CDC Study Reveals Slow Decline in Adult Cigarette Smoking

Statement of Paul G. Billings, Senior Vice President for the American Lung Association

Washington, D.C. (November 8, 2012)

“Findings published today in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) show mixed news—while the overall number of adult cigarette smokers has declined since 2005, the rate of decline has slowed since 2000. In addition, the study does not reflect the number of cigarette smokers who may be using other tobacco products, including cigars, instead of quitting.

“The American Lung Association is pleased the number of adult cigarette smokers continues to move in the right direction, but the slow rate of this decline can and must be improved upon.

“From 2005-2011, the number of adults smoking cigarettes decreased from 21 to 19 percent. Adults ages 18-24 have reached their lowest levels of cigarette smoking in years, but with just under 20 percent still smoking there is much more work to be done.

“The report also shows that adults who smoke more than 30 cigarettes per day declined significantly from 2005-2011, with many Americans smoking only 1-9 cigarettes per day. The U.S. Surgeon General has made clear that people who reduce their smoking are still at great risk of smoking-related diseases, and the only way to avoid these risks is to completely quit tobacco use.

“Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States. The Lung Association calls upon states to help defeat the tobacco epidemic by implementing comprehensive smokefree laws, instituting higher tobacco taxes to deter youth smoking, and investing in tobacco prevention and cessation programs at levels recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These proven policies will reduce tobacco use and save lives.”