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Adult Smoking Rate Remained at 19 Percent Last Year

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The smoking rate of American adults, which declined slightly between 2005 and 2011, held steady at 19 percent between 2010 and 2011, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced this week.

In 2005, an estimated 20.9 percent of adults smoked, HealthDay reports. That rate declined to 19.3 percent in 2011. The smoking rate among adults with disabilities is more than 25 percent, compared with 17 percent among people without disabilities. There are almost 44 million adult smokers in the United States, according to the CDC.

Among young adults ages 18 to 24, smoking rates decreased from more than 24 percent in 2005 to almost 19 percent in 2011, the CDC noted in its report.

“While it is good news that smoking continues to decline, there is an urgent need to accelerate progress against the nation’s number one cause of preventable death,” Matthew L. Myers, President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, said in a statement. “It is unacceptable that 43.8 million American adults still smoke and some 443,000 Americans still die every year from smoking-related diseases.”

Dr. Tim McAfee, Director of the CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health, told HealthDay more needs to be done to reduce the nation’s smoking rate. “We are making some progress, but the progress is slower than we need to see given how important the effect of smoking is on our nations’ health,” he said.

McAfee noted smoking rates have not been further reduced because states are not adequately funding tobacco-control programs. “There has been a 35 percent decrease in funding of state programs over the last few years,” he said. “These are programs that have been incredibly effective.”

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