According to federal survey statistics released Thursday, cigarette smoking in the United States reached an all-time low last year, with 1 in 9 persons reporting that they were current smokers. Meanwhile, the use of electronic cigarettes has increased to about 1 in every 17 adults.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s preliminary findings are based on survey answers from over 27,000 persons.
Cigarette smoking is a risk factor for lung cancer, heart disease, and stroke, and it has long been regarded as the greatest preventable cause of death.
In the mid-1960s, 42% of adults in the United States smoked. For decades, the rate has been gradually declining due to cigarette taxes, tobacco product price increases, smoking bans, and changes in the social acceptability of smoking in public.
The percentage of adult smokers fell to around 11% last year, down from over 12.5% in 2020 and 2021. The survey results are sometimes altered after additional study, and the CDC is anticipated to reveal final 2021 data soon.
According to survey statistics, e-cigarette use increased to over 6% last year, up from approximately 4.5% the previous year.
Dr. Jonathan Samet, dean of the Colorado School of Public Health, is concerned about the surge in e-cigarette use. According to the American Heart Association, nicotine addiction has its own set of health consequences, including an increased risk of high blood pressure and artery narrowing.
“I believe smoking will continue to decline, but whether the prevalence of nicotine addiction will decline, given the rise of electronic products, is unclear,” said Samet, who has contributed to Surgeon General reports on smoking and health for nearly four decades.
Teens’ smoking and vaping rates are about equal. According to other CDC data, just around 2% of high school students smoked traditional cigarettes last year, but approximately 14% used e-cigarettes.