BEACON TRANSCRIPT – In spite of the newfound interest in tobacco products – think of the increasingly popular e-cigarettes – the latest reports by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are actually encouraging. It turns out that 2014 had the lowest rates of smoking among U.S adults since, well, ever.
Seeing that the most critical demographic group is the age 18-24, the CDC indicated the decline in smoking trend in this age category is even more significant. Released on Friday, Nov. 14, the report showed the smoking rate has declined to 16 percent in 2014 from almost 21 percent in 2005.
However, the CDC also issued a warning. Even though smoking rates are going down, that might be caused by a shift from traditional tobacco to other options presenting on the shelves. Recent years have seen a dramatic increase in use of e-cigarettes, for example.
Thirteen percent of smokers are covered by private insurance plans, said the study, roughly the same percentage as those covered by Medicare. The report found that, in terms of health insurance, those insured by Medicaid only presented higher rates of smokers, 2 percent higher than those 27.9 percent uninsured.
More than 18 percent of the total sample population responding to the CDC survey was male and 14 percent was female. To no-one’s surprise, respondents in the age range of 25-44 years presented the highest smoking rate (20 percent).
According to Brian King Ph.D., the deputy director for research translation, CDC Office on Smoking and Health, the findings highlight the importance of reaching the entire population with prevention strategies for tobacco use, especially the vulnerable groups.
Higher prices for tobacco products, efficient smoke-free laws, and relevant mass media campaigns are only some of the measures needed. Together, they cut the ginormous financial and health burden of tobacco use and reduce the toxic secondhand smoke exposure among the population.
While the number of daily smokers has declined, the report also mentioned that the relatively affluent members of the community might be responsible for that. Knowledge and education leads to healthier decisions, which means that smoking among the poorer section of the population is still popular.
However, CDC researchers reported the “overall smoking scenario” in the U.S has improved considerably. As described by Dr. Jaimee L. Heffner, an expert in tobacco cessation at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, the reduction in smoking rates over the last decade is “a major victory for public health.”
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