Proven Tobacco Control Efforts Drive Smoking Rates to All-Time Low; Still Far Too Many Use Tobacco Products

Higher Taxes, Cessation Coverage, Prevention Programs and Smokefree Policies Lead to Historic Low Smoking Rates; Reduction in Smoking Not Benefitting All Americans Equally

Statement of Harold P. Wimmer, National President and CEO of the American Lung Association, in response to the release of adult tobacco use rates from the 2017 National Health Interview Survey in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report:

“The American Lung Association is heartened by the continued decline in adult cigarette smoking rates seen in the 2017 National Health Interview Survey, released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today in its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. The survey results show adult smoking rates decreased from 15.5 percent in 2016 to 14.0 percent in 2017. These results reflect enormous progress in the fight against cigarette smoking, and with tobacco use remaining as the nation’s leading cause of preventable death and disease, will yield tremendous benefits to lung health in this country. It is also the lowest adult smoking rate recorded in the history of this survey.

“Credit for this public health victory should go to public policies proven to prevent and reduce tobacco use, including increased tobacco taxes, well-funded tobacco prevention and quit smoking programs, comprehensive hard-hitting media campaigns like CDC’s Tips From Former Smokers campaign and comprehensive smokefree workplace laws. The American Lung Association has long advocated for these proven effective public policies, and chronicles the progress of the federal government and states in putting them in place as part of its annual ‘State of Tobacco Control’ report.

“However, as noted in the 2018 ‘State of Tobacco Control’ report, while significant progress has been made in reducing adult and youth cigarette use nationally not everyone in America has benefited equally from this progress. Certain parts of the country and populations continue to use tobacco at higher rates, putting them at greater risk for tobacco-caused death and disease. This includes people with lower income or educational levels, those with behavioral health conditions, LGBT people and those living in rural communities. Everyone deserves the chance to lead a healthy life, and more work is needed to address these disparities in tobacco use.

“The American Lung Association remains highly concerned about the use of any tobacco products. More than 47 million American adults are using at least one kind of tobacco product, 87 percent of whom are using some combustible (burned and inhaled) tobacco product including cigars, cigarillos and filtered little cigars. The study found adult use of e-cigarettes is at 2.8 percent. 

“To continue the progress reported today by the CDC, more states and the federal government need to adopt proven policies to prevent and reduce tobacco use, and tobacco prevention and cessation efforts must be focused on populations with high rates of tobacco use.”

For media interested in speaking with an expert about smoking rates and tobacco use, or the Lung Association’s “State of Tobacco Control” report, contact Allison MacMunn at the American Lung Association at [email protected] or 312-801-7628.

For more information, contact:

Allison MacMunn
[email protected]

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