(HealthDay News) – In the United States, approximately 18% of adults still smoke, according to a report published in the Jan. 17 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Israel T. Agaku, DMD, from the CDC in Atlanta, and colleagues analyzed data from the 2012 National Health Interview Survey to estimate the smoking prevalence among adults aged ≥18 years.

The researchers found that in 2012 there were approximately 42.1 million U.S. adults who were current cigarette smokers. The proportion of smokers fell from 20.9% in 2005 to 18.1% in 2012. Smoking prevalence was significantly higher among males than females (20.5% vs. 15.8%). Smoking was also more common among younger people (aged 18–24, 17.3%; aged 25–44, 21.6%; and 45–64, 19.5%, compared to 8.9% among those 65 and older). Among persons living below the poverty level, the smoking prevalence was also significantly higher (27.9%, vs. 17% for those living at or above this level). The South and Midwest had significantly higher smoking rates compared to other regions (19.7% and 20.6%, respectively, vs. 14.2% [the West] and 16.5% [the Northeast]).

“Proven population-level interventions, including tobacco price increases, high-impact anti-tobacco mass media campaigns, comprehensive smoke-free laws, and barrier-free access to help quitting, are critical to decreasing cigarette smoking and reducing the health and economic burden of tobacco-related diseases in the United States,” the authors write.

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