The adult smoking rate in the United States dropped in 2017 to a record low, but government officials aren’t giving any credit to vaping for helping to reduce the public health damage caused by cigarettes.
Just 14 percent of adults in the U.S. were current smokers in 2017, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The number is even lower than the preliminary numbers for the first three quarters of the year that were announced in March of this year.
The 14 percent figure represents a major drop in the smoking rate from 2016, when 15.5 percent of adults smoked cigarettes. Especially notable is the reduction among young adults between 18- and 24-years-old. Smoking in that age group declined from 13 percent to just 10 percent in one year — an astounding 23 percent drop.
That is exactly the age group that has adopted vaping, rather than smoking cigarettes. A Gallup Poll published in July showed that among adults under 30, just 22 percent believe that vaping is very harmful, and more young adults vape than smoke.
But according to the CDC, all credit for the dramatically reduced smoking rate goes to traditional tobacco control strategies like taxes and advertising restrictions. “This new all-time low in cigarette smoking among U.S. adults is a tremendous public health accomplishment – and it demonstrates the importance of continued proven strategies to reduce smoking,” CDC Director Robert Redfield said in a public statement.
The data comes from the CDC’s 2017 National Health Interviews Survey, and was analyzed by authors from the CDC, the National Cancer Institute, and the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products.
The report shows that 2.8 percent of American adults use e-cigarettes, which is about 6.8 million people. About 34 million adults smoke cigarettes.