Smoking Rate Declining
Thursday, February 12, 2009

For the first time in five decades, the American smoking rate has dropped below 20 percent. Dr. Edward Hill discusses this encouraging trend in todayís 60 Second Housecall.

The prevalence of smoking in Americans fell in 2007 to 19.8 percent, nearly a full percentage point from 20.8 percent in 2006, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Cigarette smoking prevalence has been dropping steadily among Americans 18 and older since it began keeping records in 1965, when 42 percent smoked. The proportion dropped below 30 percent for the first time in 1987.

Researchers attributed the drop to taxes, smoke-free laws and the availability of counseling and medications.

Tobacco use causes an estimated 443,000 deaths annually. Lung cancer kills about 157,000 Americans a year. The three leading causes of smoking-related death are lung cancer, heart disease and COPD.

It is estimated that between 30 to 40 percent of smokers try to quit annually, but the success rate is only one in five. Benefits for those who quit are significant because stopping smoking drastically reduces risks of cardiovascular disease and COPD.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Iím Dr. Edward Hill.