CDC: Despite declining numbers of American smokers, 38 million still smoke cigarettes

Wavebreakmedia Ltd/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — While fewer Americans are smoking cigarettes, according to the newest data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, nearly 38 million smoked “every day” or “some days” in 2016.

The data was released by the CDC on Thursday and comes from the National Health Interview Survey. According to the CDC, those figures indicate that among adults who have ever used cigarettes, the percentage that quit has increased from 50.8 percent in 2005 to 59 percent in 2016.

“The good news is that these data are consistent wit declines in adult cigarette smoking that we’ve seen for several decades,” Corinne Graffunder, director of the CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health said. “These findings also show that more people are quitting, and those who continue to smoke are smoking less.”

Among daily smokers, the CDC says that the average number of cigarettes smoked per day has dropped in the last 11 years — from 17 cigarettes to 14. In that same timespan, the proportion of smokers who smoked 20 to 29 cigarettes each day decreased, while those who smoked fewer than ten cigarettes per day increased.

The CDC also found notable disparities across population groups. Smoking remains more common among males, those between the ages of 25 and 64, people with less education, American Indians and Alaskan Natives, those who suffer from psychological distress, Americans who identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual, and those who live in the Midwest or South.

“The bad news is that cigarette smoking is not declining at the same rate among all population groups,” said Brian King, deputy director for research translation in CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health. “Addressing these disparities…is critical to continue the progress we’ve made in reducing the overall smoking rate.”

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