News / USA

Fewer Heavy Users Among Shrinking US Smoking Population

Californians are kicking the habit in larger numbers

A new study shows there are fewer heavy smokers in each new US generation.
A new study shows there are fewer heavy smokers in each new US generation.
TEXT SIZE - +
Art Chimes

Fewer Americans are smoking and those who are, light up less often than they used too.  

In the mid-1960s, more than 40 percent of American adults smoked cigarettes, and more than half of all smokers smoked at least a pack a day, 20 cigarettes or more.

In the more than four decades since, those rates have declined dramatically. And University of California San Diego researcher John Pierce says heavy smoking rates dropped more in California than in other states.

"In 2007, the smoking prevalence in California was 11 percent, versus 18 percent in the rest of the country," he says. "And of that 11 percent, only 20 percent are pack-a-day smokers, versus 40 percent in the rest of the country. So that's sort of how the numbers pan out."

For the new study, researchers used nationwide surveys that asked a total of 1.8 million people over the years about their smoking habits.

Pierce says that after the 1964 Surgeon General's report, which warned of health risks associated with smoking, California moved more aggressively than other states to discourage smoking.

"California slapped on a big tax on cigarettes in 1967. Right from the get-go, they were aggressive in acting to disincentivize smoking."

Money raised by the tax, says Pierce, helped pay for other anti-smoking programs. About the same time, smoking bans started to limit the public places where people could smoke.

Pierce also shows that there are fewer heavy smokers in each new generation. Smokers typically hit their peak consumption in their 20s, and the data show that there are fewer heavy smokers among younger smokers today than in the past.

The decline in heavy smoking may have had a positive effect on the health of Californians. The state's lung cancer rate, which was once higher than the rest of the country, started going down in the 1980s. "Ever since," Pierce notes, "California's been dropping dramatically. They had a 30 percent decline in lung cancer. And it's about a 30 percent difference now with the rest of the country."

You May Like

Photogallery Pope's Easter Prayer: Peace in Ukraine, Syria

Pontiff also calls for end to terrorist acts in Nigeria, violence in Iraq, and success in peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians More

Abdullah Holds Lead in Afghan Presidential Election

Country's Election Commission says that with half of the ballots counted, former FM remains in the lead with 44 percent of the vote More

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Could Trigger Cyber War

As tensions between Kyiv and Moscow escalate, so too has frequency of online attacks targeting government, news and financial sites More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid