Did you know if you smoke, you should quit? Of course you know that. This topic is not a new one—but there have been some recent developments you should know about if you smoke or love someone who smokes.
The Tobacco-Disease Connection, 1964
Fifty years ago, Surgeon General Luther L. Terry released the commission’s report linking serious health issues directly to tobacco use—sounding off alarms across the nation and the world. The report stated that smoking increased mortality by 70 percent and connected smoking with chronic bronchitis, emphysema, coronary heart disease and low birth weight. A Gallup poll done in this year, 1964, found that 44 percent of people believed smoking caused cancer—four years later that percentage jumped to 78 percent.
Some of us might remember when the tides changed on smoking—but unfortunately, tobacco still has a hold on a lot of people in this country, and we have a long way to go.
Smoker Stats in the U.S.
Thankfully, smoking in adults has been on a decline over the last 50 years in the United States—but it hasn’t been a smooth road. The 1990’s saw a jump in smoking among high school age students, peaking at 36.4 percent in 1997—and then declining to 18.1 percent in 2011. Overall, smoking adults went from an estimated 65 percent of the population in 1965 to 18.1 percent in 2012. This is a vast improvement but 18.1 percent of the adult population still means that more than 42 million Americans light up.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, of the 42.1 million adults who smoke:
- 20.5% are adult men
- 15.8% are adult women
- 27.9% live below the poverty level
- 17.0% live above the poverty level
- 17.3% are between the ages of 18 – 24
- 21.6% are between the ages of 25 – 44
- 19.5% are between the ages of 45 – 64
- 8.9% are 65 years and older
- 24.7% don’t have a high school diploma
- 41.9% have a GED diploma
- 23.1% have a high school diploma
- 9.1% have an undergraduate degree
- 5.9% have a postgraduate degree
New Illnesses Linked to Smoking
In January of 2014, acting Surgeon General Boris D. Lushniak announced another host of diseases that can be caused by smoking and tobacco usage. If you needed another reason to quit—here are eight more to think about:
- Type 2 diabetes
- Colorectal and liver cancers
- Erectile dysfunction
- Ectopic pregnancy
- Age-related macular degeneration
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Cleft palate birth defects
Today, cigarettes are even more dangerous than in the past and the risk of premature death has increased due to changes in cigarettes’ filters and design. If you’ve made the decision to quit—first, we applaud you!—but more importantly, be sure you’re getting the support you need to ensure you’re successful. Quitting is no easy task, but with determination and the right resources, you can make this important lifestyle change.