Now here's some good news to brighten your day, the CDC has recently released a report detailing that the average American adult is less likely to smoke. It's down to 18% from 19% and considering the huge numbers involved in this trend, the change is very significant.
If you count that, assuming that the adult population of the US is somewhere in the area of 239,516,412 people. 18% of that is 43,112,954. While 19% is 45,508,118.
In short, you have 2,395,164 people who are no longer smoking in 2013.
While statisticians, health advocates and policy makers are probably jumping up and down with joy, the only downside to this good news is that nobody really knows why. The data is there, but pinpointing where the most effect comes from through statistical correlation is not definite.
To be sure, and from the standpoint of an ordinary individual, I'd say that it has to be the multi-pronged approach to the problem.
Among the things that are cited that may have contributed to this decline are the following:
- Less TV and movie characters are smoking in shows
- A 1998 ban on commercials in entertainment may also have figured prominently
- Increased tax rates on tobacco, correlates with less teenage tobacco consumption
- Negative advertising portraying gory images related to smoking related illnesses by the CDC also helped
- Increased education drives
The change may redound to some real world statistics as cigarette smoking and the illnesses that comes along with it is the number one leading cause of preventable deaths. How much?
Well, let's just say that 1 out of 5 people who die in the United States, died from something related to those darn Marlboros, Winstons, Camels, Philip Morris and such. (Source: CDC) Wow.
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You have got to see this if you love statistics, numbers and bar graphs! CDC State Map Statistics
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One of the more interesting tidbits I found in that website is that in Alabama, the ethnicity of people who are more likely to smoke are the Native Americans.
So what does this really mean for me?
It means that there is hope. For most people, smoking is not just a habit, it's a social phenomenon. The government however, sees smoking and smoking related illnesses as a budgetary black hole. The more people smoke, the more people get sick, the more that those tax dollars allocated for health, get drained for something that could be prevented.
Imagine, how much better healthcare would be if there were no smokers! That's right, we're talking about billions of dollars in savings! To be precise $96 billion dollars go towards healthcare costs related to smoking. (Source: CDC)
18% is still a big number, but we're getting there.
If this trend goes on, let's cross our fingers and hope to see a future, 18 years from now, where there would be 0% smokers.
But ultimately, that change would always start with you, me – us.
Creative commons Image via Flickr