ATLANTA – Smokers are lighting up less in the United States, NPR reports. A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that the smoking rate among the adult population dropped from 21% in 2005 to 15% in 2015. The rate declined 1.7 percentage points between 2014 and 2015—a huge decrease, according to the study in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Overall, 8.6 million fewer adults are smoking today than in 2005.
With California approving a $2 per pack cigarette tax last week, health advocates predict even more Americans will kick the habit. “Raising the tobacco tax is probably the single most effective way to reduce smoking, especially among kids,” said Vincent Willmore, vice president for communication at the Center for Tobacco Free Kids.
The new report finds that the West has the lowest smoking rates, even though taxes are higher in other parts of the country. Smoking rates are the highest in the Midwest. More men smoke than women too.
As cigarette smoking has decreased in the United States, vaping has become more popular. Some researchers are considering whether smokers have simply switched to electronic cigarettes rather than given up tobacco altogether. No data supports that claim, however.