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More Smokers Cutting Back Due to Cost, Controls

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Higher cigarette prices and smoke-free laws have not succeeded in eliminating smoking, but it has compelled a growing number of smokers to light up less frequently and publicly, the Wall Street Journal reported Jan. 12.

About 20 percent of Americans still smoke, but smokers are consuming an average of 13 cigarettes daily, down from an average of 21 in 1980, and experts believe that a growing numbers of smokers indulge for emotional and psychological reasons rather than being compelled by nicotine addiction.

Approximately one in four smokers don't smoke daily, and up to half may smoke zero to six cigarettes per day. Rather than being a transitional step toward nicotine addiction, experts now think occasional smoking may be a stable pattern for some smokers, especially those who grew up in smoke-free homes, schools and workplaces.

Health experts warn, however, that even occasional smoking can raise the risk of heart attack and stroke.

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