Smoking still takes a heavy toll in US, CDC finds

January 25, 2013 by Steven Reinberg, Healthday Reporter
Smoking still takes a heavy toll in U.S., CDC finds
Varying state policies expose many Americans to secondhand smoke.

(HealthDay)—Even though proven anti-smoking strategies exist, more than 440,000 Americans still die each year from cigarette smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke, federal health officials said Friday.

And 8.6 million suffer from serious smoking-related illnesses, the U.S. report.

One reason: the implementation of policies to deter smoking is spotty across the country, officials said.

"We are seeing a large geographic disparity in smoking developing," said Dr. Tim McAfee, director of CDC's Office on Smoking and Health. Regional differences existed 20 years ago, "but nothing like what we are seeing today," he noted.

For example, about twice as many people in Kentucky smoke as in Utah and California, he said. Lung cancer rates are starting to mirror this pattern too, with higher rates in the states with more smokers and faster-declining rates in states with fewer smokers, McAfee said.

The differences are likely based on "the degree to which states have instituted policies that either promote or don't promote keeping kids from starting and encouraging adults to quit," McAfee said.

Some states have strict anti- and high cigarette taxes, while other states, such as Texas, have no , he said.

A proven, multi-pronged strategy to curb smoking combines higher taxes, smoke-free laws, , limits on and promotions and restricted access to and programs, the CDC said.

Dollars spent by the states on these programs vary widely, and no state spends the total amount the CDC recommends.

Maine spends about 80 percent of the recommended amount on these programs, while Tennessee spends 1.1 percent of the recommended amount, McAfee said.

The new report is designed for state officials and others to assess states' implementation of tobacco-control programs.

Overall, the picture is not encouraging.

States have billions to create policies that discourage smoking, collected from tobacco taxes and tobacco industry legal settlements. However, overall, states only use a small portion of these funds for anti-smoking programs, the CDC stated.

In 2013 alone, states will collect $25.7 billion from and legal settlements, but plan to use less than 2 percent of that to develop programs that deter smoking, according to the agency.

Meanwhile, the cost of smoking-related illnesses approaches nearly $96 billion a year, and another $97 billion is lost in productivity each year, the report notes.

Other highlights of the Tobacco Control State Highlights 2012 report include:

  • Utah has the fewest smokers (about 12 percent), and Kentucky the most (29 percent).
  • Across all states, about 21 percent of residents smoke.
  • Among high school students, about 18 percent smoke.
  • 26 states and the District of Columbia have comprehensive smoke-free laws that ban smoking in restaurants, bars and workplaces.
  • 24 states have inadequate smoke-free laws.
  • Kentucky, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas, West Virginia and Wyoming have no laws to protect residents from .
  • Cigarette taxes average $1.34 a pack nationally, ranging from $4.35 in New York to 17 cents in Missouri.
  • No states implemented CDC recommendations for smoking-cessation campaigns in 2010.
Health advocates hope that state legislators take note of the findings.

"As state legislatures convene across the country, the CDC report is a timely reminder both that tobacco use remains a huge public health problem and that it is an entirely winnable battle if elected officials implement proven strategies that prevent kids from smoking and help smokers quit," said Danny McGoldrick, vice president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

But states have gone backwards in recent years, McGoldrick said.

"They've cut funding for tobacco prevention programs by 36 percent and have slacked off in enacting tobacco-tax increases and smoke-free laws," McGoldrick said. New Hampshire went even further and reduced its tobacco tax last year.

"We urge state leaders to side with kids over 'Big Tobacco' and accelerate their efforts to reduce tobacco use," McGoldrick said.

Explore further: Reductions in U.S. teen smoking stalled: CDC

More information: For more help quitting, visit the Smokefree.gov.

Related Stories

Reductions in U.S. teen smoking stalled: CDC

August 9, 2012
(HealthDay) -- New data shows that while fewer American teenagers are smoking now than a decade ago, the rate of decline has slowed considerably.

Adult smoking rate edges down slightly: CDC data

September 6, 2011
(AP) -- Fewer U.S. adults are smoking and those who do light up are smoking fewer cigarettes each day, but the trend is weaker than the government had hoped.

States' efforts to boost cigarette taxes slows: CDC

March 29, 2012
(HealthDay) -- Although eight states boosted their sales taxes on cigarettes over the past two years, that's a decline in the number of such increases by states compared to 2009, a new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease ...

Report: State tobacco prevention funding lacking

May 24, 2012
(AP) -- States have spent only about 3 percent of the billions they've received in tobacco taxes and legal settlements over the last decade to fund tobacco prevention programs, making it harder to reduce the death and disease ...

Recommended for you

Expert: Be concerned about how apps collect, share health data

October 20, 2017
As of 2016 there were more than 165,000 health and wellness apps available though the Apple App Store alone. According to Rice University medical media expert Kirsten Ostherr, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates ...

More teens than ever aren't getting enough sleep

October 19, 2017
If you're a young person who can't seem to get enough sleep, you're not alone: A new study led by San Diego State University Professor of Psychology Jean Twenge finds that adolescents today are sleeping fewer hours per night ...

Across Asia, liver cancer is linked to herbal remedies: study

October 18, 2017
Researchers have uncovered widespread evidence of a link between traditional Chinese herbal remedies and liver cancer across Asia, a study said Wednesday.

Eating better throughout adult years improves physical fitness in old age, suggests study

October 18, 2017
People who have a healthier diet throughout their adult lives are more likely to be stronger and fitter in older age than those who don't, according to a new study led by the University of Southampton.

Global calcium consumption appears low, especially in Asia

October 18, 2017
Daily calcium intake among adults appears to vary quite widely around the world in distinct regional patterns, according to a new systematic review of research data ahead of World Osteoporosis Day on Friday, Oct. 20.

New study: Nearly half of US medical care comes from emergency rooms

October 17, 2017
Nearly half of all US medical care is delivered by emergency departments, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM). And in recent years, the percentage of care delivered ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.