Fewer Americans are smoking cigarettes than ever before, the new data from the CDC reveal – but health officials have growing concerns over the number that now devalues.
Smoking is a leading cause of death in the United States, and Americans are finally receiving the message and quit smoking.
But even though smoking rates have plummeted by 30 percent in the last 10 years, tobacco use in some forms has remained stationary with about one in five adults still lenient.
In recent years, nicotine e-cigarettes have become a cultural phenomenon.
Although initially they were marketed as smoking cessation aid, now even people who had never smoked – especially teenagers – are taking up fashionable devices, despite the obvious evidence that they are harmful to health.
Next week, the American Cancer Society will hold its 43rd annual Great American Smokeout, urging Americans to quit, but some experts say that the attention of the event must shift to raise awareness among the vapers and other tobacco users.
Less Americans are smoking than ever, according to the latest data from the CDC. Smoking has decreased by 30 percent in the last decade, but dangerous vaping is on the rise
We have come a long way in the war on cigarettes.
In 1965, more than half of the men and nearly half of all Americans smoked cigarettes.
By 2017, only 14% of Americans smoked cigarettes.
It is the lowest percentage of smokers since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) began to monitor the use of cigarettes more than 50 years ago.
"This new historic minimum in cigarette smoking among US adults is an extraordinary achievement for public health – and demonstrates the importance of continued proven strategies for reducing smoking," said CDC director Robert Redfield.
But there are still many people – and even more so once users of other tobacco products are included in the numbers.
A clear and causal link between smoking and lung cancer has been established as well as a wide range of other health problems, including hypertension, heart disease and stroke.
Also between 2016 and 2017, there was a decided and encouraging 23% drop between 18 and 24 who smoked, according to data from the CDC.
Cigarettes contain a number of added carcinogens – in addition to the chemicals in the tobacco itself – that make them particularly harmful.
But this does not mean that alternative tobacco products are safe.
"Despite these advances, work remains to reduce the harmful health effects of tobacco consumption," said Redfield.
Although cigarettes have remained the most widespread way of using tobacco, some other forms are creeping in and disparities persist among those using tobacco products.
Almost three percent of Americans now admit to using e-cigarettes. The devices are too new for their exact health effects to be clear, but research has shown indications that they could be just as damaging to the cardiovascular system as cigarettes.
And they are certainly compelling.
Experts suggest that e-cigarettes can provide an even more powerful dose of nicotine to users.
While devices are widely marketed as healthier alternatives to combustible tobacco, Americans can not switch from one tobacco product to another – they simply add the next one.
Nearly 20 percent of those using tobacco products used two or more types.
And the use of tobacco is even more common among Americans who are poorer, less educated and racial or sexual minorities.
Americans are more likely to be attracted to tobacco if they are anguished, disabled, single or living in the South or Midwest.
On November 14th, the American Cancer Society will encourage anyone who smokes to consign it en masse to the Great American Smokeout.
But currently, the foundation's website continues to advise that a nicotine replacement along with other methods can help ensure that a smoking cessation attempt becomes a success story.
The latest evidence suggests that while a nicotine patch or gum may be relatively safe ways to get rid of the addicted substance, health officials may soon request the removal of e-cigs from the list of alternatives.