(LOUISVILLE, Ky - November 8, 2018) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today reported that the cigarette smoking rates for adults in the United States in 2017 reached an historic low of 14 percent, or 34 million adults. This is a 67 percent decline since 1965 when the adult cigarette smoking rate was 42 percent. The rate for young adults, ages 18 to 24, was 10 percent, down from 13 percent in 2016.

Following is a statement from the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky about this study:

"We've made substantial public health progress in the past five decades in reducing addiction to tobacco, but demographic and geographic tobacco use disparities make clear that we have much work to do, especially in states like Kentucky," said Ben Chandler, president and CEO of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky. "The latest numbers point the way for health advocates: we must focus our efforts to counter tobacco industry targeting of lower-income, less-educated, and minority populations. We must also watch very closely how e-cigarettes affect behavior and health in America. The jury is still out on whether they will reduce overall tobacco use and illness among adults or, because of the explosion in teen e-cigarette use, end up addicting a whole new generation or creating a whole new set of health issues."

Additional findings in the latest CDC Tobacco Product Use Among Adults report:

The CDC also reported that 47.5 million U.S. adults (19.3 percent) still used a tobacco product in 2017, with cigarettes being the most common product. Others included cigars, cigarillos, or filtered little cigars (3.8 percent); e-cigarettes (2.8 percent); smokeless tobacco (2.1 percent); and pipes, water pipes, or hookahs (1 percent). About 9 million (19 percent) of these adults use two products, with the most common combination being cigarettes and e-cigarettes.

Cigarette smoking rates in the Midwest were highest at 16.9 percent, with the Southern region (including Kentucky) in second place at 15.5 percent. Tobacco product use rates followed the same pattern: 23.5 percent in the Midwest and 20.8 percent in the South.

The highest tobacco product use rates were found among males (24.8 percent); those ages 25-44 (22.5 percent); American Indian/Alaska native, non-Hispanic populations (29.8 percent); those with lower levels of education (42.6 percent for individuals with a GED); those with annual household incomes lower than $35,000 (26 percent); individuals identifying as lesbian, gay or bisexual (27.3 percent); and persons without health insurance (31 percent).

The latest report did not reveal updated youth tobacco use rates; those rates are expected to be release within the next few weeks.


About the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky
Funded by an endowment, the mission of the nonpartisan Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky is to address the unmet health needs of Kentuckians by developing and influencing policy, improving access to care, reducing health risks and disparities, and promoting health equity. Since the Foundation opened its doors in 2001, it has invested nearly $28 million in health policy research, advocacy, and demonstration project grants across the Commonwealth. Follow the Foundation on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, and visit our website at www.healthy-ky.org.

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