U.S. Smoking Rates Stall

THURSDAY, Nov. 8 (HealthDay News) -- In 2006, 20.8 percent of American adults were current cigarette smokers, a percentage that hasn't changed much since 2004, a new government report says.

The finding suggests that the previous seven-year decline has stalled, says a report in this week's issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Among current smokers in 2006, 80.1 percent (36.3 million) smoked every day, and 19.9 percent (9 million) smoked some days. About 44.2 percent of those smokers had stopped smoking for at least one day during the preceding year, because they were trying to quit.

People who'd been diagnosed with a smoking-related chronic disease still smoked more than people with other kinds of chronic diseases or no chronic disease, the report said. It found that 49.1 percent of adults with emphysema and 41.1 percent of those with chronic bronchitis were current smokers.

People with any smoking-related chronic disease (other than stroke) were much less likely to have never smoked than those with other chronic diseases (53.5 percent) or no chronic disease (64.3 percent). People with lung cancer (17.9 percent) and emphysema (22.3 percent) were least likely to never have smoked.

Smoking was more common among men (23.9 percent) than women (18 percent). In racial/ethnic groups, the prevalence of smoking was: American Indians/Alaska Natives, 32.4 percent; non-Hispanic blacks, 23 percent; non-Hispanic whites, 21.9 percent; Hispanics, 15.2 percent; Asians, 10.4 percent.

In terms of education, adults who'd earned a General Educational Development diploma (46 percent) and those with nine to 11 years of education (35.4 percent) were most likely to smoke.

The report also found that adults aged 18 to 24 and aged 25 to 44 had higher rates of smoking -- 23.9 percent and 23.5 percent, respectively -- than other age groups. Adults living below the federal poverty level were more likely to smoke than those at or above that level -- 30.6 percent versus 20.4 percent.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: Nov. 8, 2007, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report

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