U.S. - 2008 Cigarette Smoking Among Adults and Trends in Smoking Cessation..


November 13, 2009 - To assess progress toward the Healthy People 2010 objective of reducing the prevalence of cigarette smoking among adults to <12% (objective 27-1a) (5), CDC analyzed data from the 2008 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS).

Results of that analysis, which indicated that during 1998--2008, the proportion of U.S. adults who were current cigarette smokers declined 3.5% (from 24.1% to 20.6%). However, the proportion did not change significantly from 2007 (19.8%) to 2008 (20.6%).

In 2008, adults aged ≥25 years with low educational attainment had the highest prevalence of smoking (41.3% among persons with a General Educational Development certificate [GED] and 27.5% among persons with less than a high school diploma, compared with 5.7% among those with a graduate degree). Adults with education levels at or below the equivalent of a high school diploma, who comprise approximately half of current smokers, had the lowest quit ratios (2008 range: 39.9% to 48.8%). Smokers were more likely to be male (23.1 percent) than female (18.3 percent).

Evidence-based programs known to be effective at reducing smoking should be intensified among groups with lower education, and health-care providers should take education level into account when communicating about smoking hazards and cessation to these patients.

Many experts blame the turnaround on recent cutbacks in funding for state tobacco-control programs, which have proven successful.

Look ahead for 2009 (looking a third quarter 2009 results): The weak economy and higher prices are snuffing out cigarette demand around the world — most vigorously in the U.S., where a federal tax hike, smoking bans, health concerns and social stigma have cut demand at least 10 percent.

Reynolds American Inc. — the second-biggest cigarette seller in the U.S., with brands such as Camel and Pall Mall — raised prices even as consumers bought fewer cigarettes. Analysts are closely watching the U.S. industry’s third quarter for the first clear sense of cigarette volumes after a 62-cent-per-pack federal tax increase took effect. Cigarette sales fell during the first half of the year before and after the April 1 change.

Cigarette volume fell 11 percent at Reynolds, nearly double the 5.6 percent decline anticipated by Credit Suisse analyst Thilo Wrede. The company estimated that its 11 percent drop in volume was better than the industry's overall decline, which it pegged at 12.6 percent. In a conference call with investors, Reynolds CEO Susan M. Ivey said she expects U.S. cigarette demand to fall 8 percent to 9 percent per year and easing back to annual drops of 3 percent to 4 percent over the next few years. (Reynolds American Inc. - q3 2009 earnings results..)

Altria Group Inc., parent company of the nation’s No. 1 tobacco company, Philip Morris USA. reported Wednesday said it sold about 12 percent fewer cigarettes versus an industry decline it estimated at 10 percent. (Altria - q3 2009 earnings results..)

Reference: Cigarette Smoking Among Adults and Trends in Smoking Cessation --- United States, 2008, CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 11/13/2009 - 58(44);1227-1232.

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