Smoking is losing its appeal among adults in the United States, a recent study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has shown.
According to estimations, the proportion of adult Americans who indulge in cigarette smoking has decreased by approximately 4.1% in the last decade, reaching 16.8% in 2014, after being measured at 20.9% in 2005. In addition, the average number of cigarettes on a daily basis has plummeted, from 16.7 in 2005, to 13.8 by 2014.
As health officials have noted, this marks a 50 year low as far as cigarette popularity is concerned. Among other reports warning of unsettling trends across the United States, these findings provide a ray of hope that some lifestyle habits are actually on the mend.
Apparently, a record-breaking number of people have managed to quit smoking in the last decade. Researchers are now speculating what brought about this positive change.
One potential factor for this lowered preference for cigarettes might be the extensive broadcasting of anti-smoking campaigns, across different types of media.
Alternatives such as e-cigarettes and hookahs have also gained ground in recent years, especially among younger individuals, aged 18 to 24, who have experienced the most significant drop in cigarette consumption.
Also, another measure which has surely discouraged smokers is the fact that 28 states have forbidden the practice of smoking in enclosed public places, such as restaurants or bars.
There are certain exemptions, which refer to some casinos, cigar bars, private pubs, small workplaces. Also, most states still allow motels and hotels to have a few smoking rooms.
However, cigarette use is much more restricted than in the past, which might explain why fewer people have remained attached to this habit.
Moreover, recently, a new federal law has been proposed by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, which aims to keep public housing homes, common areas and offices entirely smoke-free.
Incentives when it comes to life insurance have also been introduced, whereby those who have quit smoking for 5 years benefit from the same premiums as nonsmokers.
A study conducted by NerdWallet had previously revealed that smokers tend to spend an additional sum ranging between $1,071 and $1,455 on life insurance, in comparison with those who don’t foster this habit.
While the results released by the CDC are incredibly promising, they also show that there is still room for improvement.
For example, researchers determined that smoking is still dangerously prevalent among those who are uninsured, and those who receive health coverage through Medicaid. This type of insurance is specifically catered for low-income adults, children, senior citizens, disabled people and pregnant women.
Smoking is favored by approximately 27.9% of those without insurance, and by 29.1% of those who benefit from Medicaid. On the other hand, cigarettes are preferred by just 12.9% of those with private health insurance, and by 12.5% of those on Medicare (which covers people aged 65 and upwards, as well as severely disabled individuals).
Also, smoking is still more attractive to men (18.8%) than to women (14.8%), and has its lowest prevalence among elderly citizens older than 65.
According to CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden, the smoking industry’s pressure on the economy amounts to over $300 billion. Even more alarmingly, approximately half a million Americans die prematurely every year, as a direct result of their propensity for cigarette smoking.
In fact, tobacco use is considered to be the most significant source of diseases and deaths that could’ve easily been prevented through lifestyle changes.
Therefore, awareness should continue to be raised regarding the detrimental effects of cigarettes, such as the increased risk of developing various types of malignant tumors, with lung cancer being the most widely publicized.
Further emphasis should also be placed on the dangers that secondhand smoke poses, especially to kids and senior citizens.
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