42 Million US Adults Still Smoke

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Darryl Konter
Health Communications Specialist, Office on Smoking and Health at Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the United States, resulting in more than 480,000 premature deaths and $289 billion in direct health care expenditures and productivity losses each year. Despite progress over the past several decades, millions of adults still smoke cigarettes, the most commonly used tobacco product in the United States. Cigarette smoking among U.S. adults declined from 20.9% in 2005 to 17.8% in 2013. Among cigarette smokers who smoke daily, the average number of cigarettes smoked per day declined from 16.7 in 2005 to 14.2 in 2013, and the proportions of daily smokers who smoked 20–29 or ≥30 cigarettes per day also declined. However, an estimated 42.1 million adults still smoked cigarettes in 2013. Moreover, cigarette smoking remains particularly high among certain groups, including adults who are male, younger, multiracial or American Indian/Alaska Native, have less education, live below the federal poverty level, live in the South or Midwest, have a disability/limitation, or who are lesbian, gay, or bisexual.

Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Response: For Clinicians: To reduce the burden of tobacco use, healthcare providers could play a vital role in educating their patients about the health risks of tobacco use, and providing effective cessation interventions. The U. S. Public Health Service Clinical Practice Guideline recommends that clinicians and health care delivery systems consistently identify and document tobacco use status and treat every tobacco user seen in a health care setting.

For Patients: Tobacco use continues to be the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the United States. Patients should be aware of the available clinical preventive services, including, tobacco cessation counseling/medication and its insurance coverage. Additionally, adults should quit smoking if they currently use tobacco, and if they can’t stop yet, never use tobacco or allow tobacco to be used around children. Finally, additional information and support for quitting is available by telephone (800-QUIT-NOW [800-784-8669]). CDC’s Tips from Former Smokers campaign features real persons living with the consequences of smoking-related diseases and offers additional quit resources at http://www.cdc.gov/tips.

Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: Although the decline in overall cigarette smoking prevalence during 2005–2013 is encouraging, approximately 42.1 million adults still smoke cigarettes; this underscores the need for continued implementation of evidence-based interventions including increasing the price of tobacco products, implementing and enforcing comprehensive smoke-free laws, warning about the dangers of tobacco use with high-impact antismoking media campaigns, and increasing access to help with quitting. Disparities exist in smoking prevalence. Future research is needed to assess the implementation of proven strategies to prevent and reduce tobacco use among these groups, as well as documenting and expanding questions on surveillance tools to better capture data on subpopulations with the greatest burden of tobacco use.



November 28, 2014 / 63(47);1108-1112
Current Cigarette Smoking Among Adults — United States, 2005–2013



Last Updated on November 30, 2014 by Marie Benz MD FAAD