(HealthDay News) — Under 17 percent of adults said they smoked in 2014, down from nearly 21 percent in 2005. And the average number of cigarettes smoked daily fell from nearly 17 to fewer than 14 by 2014. The latest numbers are published in the Nov. 13 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
“There’s a lot of encouraging news in these most recent national smoking estimates,” lead investigator Brian King, Ph.D., deputy director for research translation at the CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health in Atlanta, told HealthDay. “But big socioeconomic disparities remain, and are fairly consistent with what we’ve seen in the past.”
For example, the investigators found that smoking rates among uninsured adults and poor Medicaid recipients were twice that of people with private insurance or seniors on Medicare. Those with only a high-school degree and non-whites also were far more likely to smoke than better-educated adults and/or whites.
Adult smoking fell a full percentage point — to 16.8 percent — between 2013 and 2014 alone. And among the privately insured and those with Medicare, rates were as low as 12 to 13 percent, the researchers found. By contrast, rates hit roughly 28 to 29 percent among the uninsured and Medicaid enrollees, with similar numbers among multi-racial Americans, Native Americans, and the very poor. Among those with only a high school education, 43 percent were found to smoke.