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As U.S. Smoking Rate Drops, Smokers More Likely to Quit

Efforts to discourage the smoking have made it less acceptable, experts say

MONDAY, June 29, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- As the number of smokers in the United States drops, those who still light up are smoking less and more likely to try quitting, according to a study published online June 24 in Tobacco Control.

Smoking rates have declined significantly since 1965, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Back then, about 42 percent of the adult population smoked; about 18 percent of American adults are cigarette smokers now, which amounts to some 42 million people.

In the study, researchers evaluated state-level survey data on tobacco use gathered between 1992 and 2011 by the U.S. Census Bureau. The investigators found that for every 1 percent decrease in the fraction of the U.S. population that smokes, the number of smokers who try to quit increases by 0.6 percent; the percentage of smokers who successfully quit increases by about 1 percent; and cigarette consumption among remaining smokers decreases by 0.32 cigarettes a day.

"This goes to show that the policies that are in place right now are working," Margarete Kulik, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow with the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at the University of California, San Francisco, told HealthDay. "The perception of smoking is changing in the population, and smokers are feeling that influence."

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