CDC reports 1 in 5 American adults are addicted to tobacco, the number one cause of preventable disease

A report by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reveals that one in five American adults use tobacco on a regular basis despite the increase in electronic cigarette use. The report, based on the National Health Interview Survey, also shows that 15 percent of the country’s overall population smokes tobacco. Likewise, the results show that up to 25 percent of men smoke cigarettes daily, compared with only 15 percent of women.

The findings also reveal that nearly 85 percent of American smokers prefer using combustible tobacco products —  such as cigarettes, cigars, or pipes — compared to only 3.5 percent who used e-cigarettes and 3.4 percent who preferred used cigars, cigarillos or filtered little cigars. Likewise, the report shows that only 2.3 percent of American adults prefer using smokeless tobacco like chewing tobacco and snuff, and a measly 1.2 percent used pipes, water pipes, or hookahs.

“We usually hear only one side of the story, that combustible tobacco use is down. We know that nicotine is a drug and tobacco dependence is an addiction. Once people start, it’s an addiction, not a habit, it’s a chronic disease. Every day I see people walking around with oxygen tanks and walking outside to use tobacco. Their brains have been chemically altered to crave this, even in light of terminal illness. We need to keep the story relevant. The conversation about smoking isn’t sexy any more, especially in the face of the opioid epidemic, but the numbers are staggering, and this story has to bubble to the top because it has a significant impact on our health overall,” says Dr. Amy Lukowski, clinical director at National Jewish Health hospital’s health initiative programs.

In addition, tobacco use per ethnicity ranged between only nine percent among Asians more than a quarter among American Indians/Alaska Natives. People without a high school diploma and those earning less than $35,000 per year have the highest prevalence of tobacco use. The researchers also observed that people without access to insurance are more likely to smoke. People living in the Midwest, patients who are disabled, and those suffering from some form of psychological distress have an increased susceptibility to tobacco abuse. (Related: Peer pressure turnaround: New research shows a reduction in youth tobacco use when friends stage an intervention.)

“These results make clear that more action is needed to reduce the disease and death caused by cigarette use — and the FDA has announced a comprehensive approach to do just that. [The FDA is] seeking to regulate the nicotine content in cigarettes to render them minimally or non-addictive,” FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb has told Daily Mail online.

WHO fact sheet shows more disturbing data on tobacco use

A fact sheet updated by the World Health Organization (WHO) in May this year has shown that tobacco use remains to be a major hurdle to public health. Among the WHO’s latest findings include:

  • More than one billion people worldwide use tobacco.
  • Tobacco use kills up to 50 percent of its users.
  • Tobacco kills more than seven million annually. More than six million of tobacco-related deaths stem from direct tobacco use, while about 890,000 are associated with exposure to second-hand smoke.
  • About 80 percent of smokers worldwide in low- and middle-income countries.
  • Exposure to second-hand smoke raises the odds of developing cardiovascular and respiratory diseases among adults.
  • Second-hand smoke causes sudden death in infants and low birth weight in pregnant women.
  • Second-hand smoke accounts for up to 28 percent of the deaths among children.

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