A new Centers for Disease Control report on tobacco use says that well over 400,000 Americans die from smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke each year. Additionally, 8.6 million adults in America have a serious illness related to smoking.
The report states that about five million fewer Americans would smoke if all states would fund their tobacco control programs properly. Youth smoking has actually declined in Maine, New York and Washington by 45 to 60 percent, because of such programs. An estimated 46.6 million American adults smoke and about 88 million nonsmokers are exposed to secondhand smoke.
Most adult smokers began smoking when they were teens. It is less likely for people to start smoking at an adult age. Teen smoking has declined since 1997. At that time the rate was 36 percent, and in 2009 it had dropped to 20 percent. Unfortunately, there is still some cultural attraction for some teens who see it as “cool” or as a way of rebelling.
The state with the least number of smokers is Utah with ten percent. Other low smoking states are California and Washington. Almost twenty-six percent of people in Kentucky and West Virginia smoke. Other high smoking states are Missouri, Oklahoma and Mississippi. Regionally the West has the least number of smokers with 16 percent and the Southeast and Midwest are both slightly above 20 percent.
The CDC recommends keeping children away from all cigarette smoking. Even being exposed once can cause harm. Also, children are impressionable and sometimes copy the behavior of adults. The CDC mentions that Medicare now covers some smoking cessation services.
The focus of the new CDC report is human health, but cigarettes harm more than human health. Cigarette butts are often tossed on the ground and on sidewalks and parking lots. They contain toxic chemicals which can make their way into our water systems, and poison fish habitat. Last year it was reported by Discovery News a research study found, “a single cigarette butt soaked for a day is enough to turn a liter of water a sickly yellow brown and kill 50 percent of fish swimming in it.” So quitting smoking is not only a sensible thing to do for ourselves, it also keeps the environment healthy.
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