Government health officials had a lot to celebrate about this week, as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that the number of smokers in the United States has dropped by close to 20 percent in the past ten years, and has fallen one full percentage point over the last year.
CDC officials weren’t able to pinpoint an exact cause for the huge drop-off in smokers, but they believe tools such as anti-smoking campaigns, stricter laws, and better insurance programs to help people quit smoking have made it more difficult for people to kick the nasty habit. Unfortunately, though, officials said that people covered by the government’s Medicaid health insurance program for low-income individuals, and those without any kind of health insurance are much more likely to smoke than people who have solid health insurance programs.
“The percentage of U.S. adults who smoke cigarettes declined from 20.9 percent in 2005 to 16.8 percent in 2014,” said CDC researchers in a report released Thursday. “Cigarette smoking was significantly lower in 2014 (16.8 percent) than in 2013 (17.8 percent).” The team of researchers used an annual U.S. survey to come up with the above statistics.
Unfortunately, the stats also showed how smoking remains a problem for people who are under Medicaid insurance or don’t have insurance. “Data from the 2014 National Health Interview Survey show that 27.9 percent of uninsured adults and 29.1 percent of Medicaid recipients currently smoke,” read the report. “By contrast, 12.9 percent of adults with private insurance and 12.5 percent of those on Medicare currently smoke.”
Other interesting stats include how smoking rates have once again reached an all-time low, one year after they reached their lowest level in five decades. Men remained more likely to smoke than women, with 18.8 percent of male respondents in the survey saying that they smoke, as to 14.8 percent of females. Those over 65 were shown to be the least likely to smoke, with a share of 8.5 percent.