Medical Professionals Online

Smoking Remains At 21% Since 2005, 54% Of Children Exposed To Secondhand Smoke

April 17, 2017

Up until 2005, the percentage of American adults who smoked was dropping; since that date it has stuck around 20% to 21%. According to the CDC's (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 54% of 3 to 11 year old children were exposed to secondhand smoke during 2007-2008, while 40% of non-smokers of all ages have been subjected to passive smoking. 98% of children who live with a person who smokes were found to have measurable levels of toxic chemicals which came from tobacco smoke.

In 2009, almost 24% of adult males and 18% of adult females in the USA smoked - nearly one third of them lived below poverty level, the CDC reports.

25% of adults with no high school diploma in America smoke, compared to just 6% of college graduates.

According to the report, around 90 million non-smokers in the USA have measurable levels of toxic chemicals from tobacco smoke as a result of passive smoking (secondhand smoke).

CDC Director Thomas R. Frieden, M.D., M.P.H., said:

Smoking is still the leading preventable cause of death in this country. But progress is possible. Strong state laws that protect nonsmokers from secondhand smoke, higher cigarette prices, aggressive ad campaigns that show the human impact of smoking and well-funded tobacco control programs decrease the number of adult smokers and save lives.

Utah had the lowest percentage of adult smokers in the USA, followed by California. California is known for its long-term comprehensive tobacco control program. Between 2000 and 2006 smoking prevalence in California dropped by approximately 40%. Lung cancer incidence in California has been falling four times faster than in the rest of the country.

The CDC reports that New York, Washington and Maine have seen reductions in youth smoking ranging from 45% to 60%; officials say statewide efforts have played a key part.

Five million fewer Americans would smoke if every state supported comprehensive tobacco control programs for 5 years with CDC-recommended levels of funding. Five million fewer smokers would eventually lead to a drop in premature tobacco-related deaths.

In a press release, the CDC writes:

The federal government is intensifying its efforts to reduce tobacco use in order to achieve the tobacco use targets in Healthy People 2010 and Healthy People 2020. The 2009 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act gives the Food and Drug Administration authority to regulate the manufacturing, marketing, and distribution of tobacco products and has provided new opportunities to reduce tobacco use.

The CDC informs that smoking is known to cause the following diseases: lung cancer mouth cancer stomach cancer pancreatic cancer kidney cancer colorectal cancer cervical cancer bladder cancer leukemia heart attacks stroke blindness pneumonia emphysema other lung diseases and many other health problems Exposure to secondhand smoke, also called passive smoking, can cause: acute respiratory infections decreased lung function in children heart disease in adults low birth weight lung cancer in adults middle ear disease sudden infant death syndrome worsening asthma symptoms Smoking causes about 443,000 premature deaths, accounts for up to 30% of cancer deaths, and is the single most preventable cause of disease and death in the United States. Despite the adverse health effects of smoking cigarettes, 46.6 million men and women (one in five U.S. adults) currently smoke (CDC).

Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR)
"Vital Signs: Current Cigarette Smoking Among Adults Aged ≥18 Years - United States, 2009"
Reported by: SR Dube, PhD, A McClave, MPH, C James, MSPH, R Caraballo, PhD, R Kaufmann, PhD, T Pechacek, PhD, Office on Smoking and Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, CDC.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
September 7, 2010 / 59(Early Release);1-6