March 18 news, according to survey data released on Thursday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the smoking rate in the United States fell to a record low in 2020, with one in eight adults Indicates that they currently smoke.
Adult e-cigarette use has also declined, the CDC reported.
In the United States, 47.1 million adults reported using commercial tobacco products in 2020, including 30.8 million adults who reported smoking, according to data published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
Overall, 19 percent of adults reported using at least one tobacco product in 2020, down from 20.8 percent in 2019, the researchers said. The most commonly used tobacco product was cigarettes (12.5%), followed by e-cigarettes (3.7%), cigars (3.5%), smokeless tobacco (2.3%) and pipes (1.1%).
About 75% of tobacco users say they use combustible products – the leading cause of tobacco-related morbidity and mortality.
According to the researchers, the overall decline in tobacco use may be due to media campaigns such as the CDC’s “Tips for Ex-Smokers,” as well as policies restricting the availability of certain products, including flavored ones.
CDC officials attributed the drop to public health campaigns and policies, but outside experts said higher prices by tobacco companies and lifestyle changes during the pandemic may have played a role.
“It’s not the case with people who are primarily social smokers,” said Megan Roberts, a researcher at Ohio State University who focuses on tobacco product use among young adults and teens.
What’s more, parents who are suddenly staying home full-time with their kids may have cut back on spending. Roberts added that there have been reports that smokers are more likely to develop severe illness after contracting the coronavirus, and some may have quit smoking.
The CDC report, based on a survey of more than 31,000 U.S. adults, found that 19 percent of Americans used at least one tobacco product in 2020, down from about 21 percent in 2019.
Use of cigars, smokeless tobacco and pipes was flat. Current e-cigarette use fell to 3.7% from 4.5% the previous year.
Cigarettes were the most commonly used tobacco product, with 12.5% ??of adults using cigarettes, down from 14%.
Health officials have long considered smoking — a risk factor for lung cancer, heart disease and stroke — to be the leading cause of preventable death in the United States.
In 1965, 42 percent of American adults were smokers.
That rate has been gradually declining for decades for a number of reasons, including taxes and smoking bans in workplaces and restaurants. But some experts say a large part of the recent price drop must be a recent price increase.
For example, British American Tobacco, which makes brands such as Camel, Lucky Strike and Newport, raised prices four times in 2020, for a total of about 50 cents per pack.
Interestingly, the FTC reported last year that the number of cigarettes sold in the U.S. actually increased in 2020 — the first such increase in 20 years.
“It’s a working hypothesis — that people have more opportunities to smoke because they don’t go to work,” said David Swino, a global tobacco policy expert at the University of Ottawa.
He said it’s also possible that the CDC survey underestimated how many people smoked, either because some respondents were dishonest or because the survey missed too many smokers.
Other surveys suggest that, for many, alcohol consumption and illicit drug use increased in the first year of the pandemic.