• August 12, 2020

Smoking at record low in US

Cigarette smoking has reached the lowest level ‘ever recorded’ among US adults, according to new data published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the National Institutes of Health’s National Cancer Institute (NCI).

That left about 47 million (one in five) US adults using ‘tobacco’ products last year, products that were said to include a variety of smoked, smokeless, and electronic tobacco products.

‘An estimated 14 percent of US adults (34 million) were current (“every day” or “some day”) cigarette smokers in 2017 – down from 15.5 in 2016 – a 67 percent decline since 1965,’ a CDC press note said. [It wasn’t clear why some figures were given to one place of decimals while others were not.]

‘A particularly notable decline occurred among young adults between 2016 and 2017: about 10 percent of young adults aged 18 to 24 years smoked cigarettes in 2017, down from 13 percent in 2016.’

“This new all-time low in cigarette smoking among US adults is a tremendous public health accomplishment – and it demonstrates the importance of continued proven strategies to reduce smoking,” said CDC director Robert Redfield.

“Despite this progress, work remains to reduce the harmful health effects of tobacco use.”

Information contained in the 2017 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), published in yesterday’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, described how the range of tobacco products used by US adults included ‘cigarettes, cigars, e-cigarettes, hookah/water pipes/pipes, and smokeless tobacco’. The survey has been used to assess cigarette smoking among US adults since 1965, but surveillance of other tobacco products began more recently

‘In 2017, cigarettes were the most commonly used product (14 percent) among US adults, followed by cigars, cigarillos, or filtered little cigars (3.8 percent); e-cigarettes (2.8 percent); smokeless tobacco (2.1 percent); and pipes, water pipes, or hookahs (1 percent),’ the note said.

‘Of the 47 million adults who currently use any tobacco products, about nine million (19 percent) reported use of two or more tobacco products. The most common tobacco product combinations were cigarettes and e-cigarettes.

The note then goes on to describe how tobacco-product usage varies within ‘subgroups’ and to quote NCI director Norman E. Sharpless, MD, as saying the persistent disparities in adult smoking prevalence described in the report emphasized the need for further research to accelerate reductions in tobacco use among all US citizens.

Meanwhile, FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD, was quoted as saying that the continued drop in adult smoking rates to historic lows was encouraging and that the FDA was committed to accelerating declines in smoking and shifting the trajectory of tobacco-related disease and death through its comprehensive approach to tobacco and nicotine regulation. “We’ve taken new steps to ultimately render combustible cigarettes minimally or non-addictive and to advance a framework to encourage innovation of potentially less harmful products such as e-cigarettes for adults who still seek access to nicotine, as well as support the development of novel nicotine replacement drug therapies,” he said.

“At the same time we’re also working to protect kids from the dangers of tobacco product use, including e-cigarettes.”