January 10, 2017 – Smoking Rates


Anchor lead: Fewer and fewer people are smoking in the US, Elizabeth Tracey reports

A shrinking proportion of the US population is choosing to smoke cigarettes, welcome federal data released at the end of 2016 show. Mike Klag, dean of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, says this is good news indeed with regard to a primary driver of many diseases.

Klag: It’s remarkable when I think about when I started in medicine in the late 70s how the prevalence of smoking has dropped from above 30%  to now less than 15%. In 2005 we were at 21% and now we’re at 15%. And we see this across all age, race, sex and ethnic groups. And across the country and in various levels of socioeconomic status. The biggest declines were in the youngest age groups although we still see too many young people smoking. 13% of 18-24 year olds still smoke.   :30

Klag reflects that some of the drop among younger folks has been replaced with an increased rate of e-cigarette use, or vaping, something we need to watch carefully.  At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.