One in Five U.S. Adults Continues to Smoke

Researchers express hope that new federal tobacco excise tax will lead to more quit attempts

MONDAY, March 16 (HealthDay News) -- Although smoking prevalence is declining nationwide, about one in five U.S. adults still smokes, and only one state has reduced smoking prevalence to the 12 percent or less goal established by Healthy People 2010, according to a report published in the March 13 issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta analyzed data from the 2007 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System survey of 430,912 adults in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The investigators found that the median prevalence of current smoking is 19.8 percent, ranging from a high of 28.3 percent in Kentucky to a low of 11.7 percent in Utah. Since 1998, they found that smoking prevalence declined in 44 states, Washington D.C., and Puerto Rico, and did not significantly change in six states after adjustment for age, sex, race and ethnicity. Only Utah and the U.S. Virgin Islands have met the Healthy People 2010 goal, according to the report.

"On April 1, 2009, the single largest federal tobacco excise tax increase in history will go into effect, raising the excise tax for cigarettes to $1.01 from the current rate of $0.39," the authors write. "This increase likely will prompt some smokers to make a quit attempt. To assist smokers with their quit attempts, health care providers should follow the recommendations in the 2008 update to the Public Health Service's Clinical Practice Guideline on Treating Tobacco Use and Dependence."

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Rick Ansorge

Rick Ansorge

Published on March 16, 2009

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