A Declining Trend?

Fewer adults in the U.S. smoke and there are fewer heavy smokers, according to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control.  The report showed that 19 percent of adults in the U.S.–43.8 million—smoked cigarettes in 2011, compared to 20.9 percent in 2005.  However, there was no significant decline in smoking rates between 2010 and 2011. Also, smokers are smoking fewer cigarettes today. About 9 percent of daily smokers smoked 30 or more cigarettes a day in 2011, compared to 12.6 percent in 2005.

The CDC’s report shows a declining trend in the number and intensity level of adult smokers, but there’s still more work to be done.  Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death in this country, killing approximately 443,000 Americans each year.

Secondhand smoke also takes a sizable toll on Americans’ health and productivity.  A recent study published in the American Journal of Public Health showed that secondhand smoke kills 42,000 Americans each year, including 900 infants.

Overall, the researchers found that yearly deaths from secondhand smoke accounted for about 600,000 years of potential life lost, or an average of 14.2 years per person. The price tag for that lost productivity loss equaled $6.6 billion in total — about $158,000 per death.

Reducing tobacco use saves lives and the state money. Smoking costs  the United States an estimated $96 billion in direct medical expenses and $97 billion in lost productivity each year, according to the CDC report.  Tobacco costs New York State an estimated $8.17 billion in health care costs, including $2.7 billion in Medicaid costs as a result of tobacco use.

Research shows that states with comprehensive tobacco control programs experience faster declines in cigarette sales and smoking rates than states that do not invest in these programs.

In 2012, New York State took in $2 billion in tobacco taxes and Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement payments, but spent only $41.4 million on tobacco prevention and cessation—a mere two cents of every dollar raised.  We need to increase the overall funding for tobacco prevention and cessation programs, which have been cut in half in recent years, and provide more targeted assistance to help NYC smokers quit and ensure our youth don’t light up.

Research shows that states with comprehensive tobacco control programs experience faster declines in cigarette sales and smoking rates than states that do not invest in these programs.

Our success in bringing down smoking rates in NYC shows we know what works—price increases on tobacco products, hard-hitting educational media, strong cessation and prevention programs, and bold smoke-free policies.  The NYC Coalition is committed to bringing down smoking rates in our city, reducing tobacco marketing to our youth, and ensuring that all New Yorkers who want to quit have the resources they need.