CDC: Cigarette Smoking at Lowest Ever Rate, But Still Main Cancer Cause

Fewer people smoking, but cancer burden still high
Fewer people smoking, but cancer burden still high

HealthDay News — Although rates of smoking in the United States have declined to new lows, health officials still estimate that four out of every 10 cancers is linked to the habit.

The latest report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds that cigarette smoking dropped from 20.9% of U.S. adults (45.1 million) in 2005 to 15.1% (36.5 million) in 2015. Cigarette smoking is now at its lowest since the CDC began collecting data in 1965, researchers said. 

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According to another report released November 10, every year between 2009 and 2013, some 660,000 Americans were diagnosed with a tobacco-related cancer and about 343,000 died from such a cancer. Cancer accounted for three in 10 deaths among cigarette smokers, the report noted. However, progress has been made, Tom Frieden, MD, MPH, director of the CDC, said during a news conference, and since 1990, about 1.3 million tobacco-related cancer deaths among Americans have been avoided.

The CDC credits state tobacco programs for the continued decline in smoking. These programs focus on reducing cancer risk, detecting cancer early, improving cancer treatments, helping more people survive cancer, improving cancer survivors' quality of life, and better assisting communities affected by cancer, the agency said. "Funding for these programs will yield a return on investment," Frieden said. "States that invest in these initiatives will reduce tobacco use that will result in fewer people with cancer, fewer deaths, and reduced health care costs. It has been estimated that the annual cost of caring for an ex-smoker is $1,000 less than the annual cost of caring for a smoker."

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